In the psychological-medical fields, we find IQ to be a useful measure, along with many others. IQ has only very broad predictive power for adjustment to life or for achievement in life, but a person's reasoning ability, curiosity, analytic talents, and their sensitivity of pattern-recognition, all say something important about a person and the tools they have to deal with life. But a very high IQ doesn't equate with "success", whatever that is, though it certainly correlates with the richness of the life one is able to live; a lower IQ, on the other hand, cannot interfere with happiness or with achievement in less intellectually rigorous areas of life.
In the variety of folks we encounter in medicine, it is common to see folks of high IQ doing relatively menial jobs, but who must find outlets for their abilities in all sorts of surprising interests, intellectual hobbies and obsessions. I recall one truck driver whose hobby of Latin translation was almost obsessive, and wonderful. And a refridgerator repair guy who could have taught the Cornell Lab of Ornithology a thing or two...not everyone spends their spare time stupified, watching sports on TV or the other crap.
And neither is it rare to find folks of very limited talents and potential, but of slippery, conniving character, shoving themselves forward in the world, beyond what substance they really bring to the table - especially in sales, finance, and politics - the realms of BS, the schmooze, and the con job, and, in some cases, genuine integrity.
IQ shows a bell-curve distribution across a given population, with the peak around 100. Along with social class and background and emotional maturity, IQ tends to be an important part of social affinities and friendships - people of similar IQs are "on the same page." There seem to be optimal IQ ranges for different areas of life. CEOs of Fortune 500 companies tend to be in the 120-130 range - very smart but not so smart that they get tangled up. Attorneys today, unlike the past, inhabit a wide range, from 90 to the max. - there are lots of law schools looking for paying customers. As people enter the high end, over 140, they often seem a bit eccentric or awkward, because they are experiencing the world a little differently and their range of interests can be wide and unusual.
Quick IQ tests, and further comments, on continuation page below:
The vast numbers of people are in the 90-110 range, which does not provide the horsepower for certain tasks but is fine for most things - it wouldn't have gotten you through college 40 years ago but it will today, somewhere, in the non-rigorous educational environment we live in (it won't carry you through medical school, but it could get you through a third-rate law or business school nowadays, but forget a doctorate in math, computer science, or the sciences). And yes, IQ is inherited, like height and like many personality traits. Go ahead, blame Mom or Dad.
At this point in my career, I can judge someone's IQ within 6-10 points after a 5-minute conversation, just as any internist can name your weight without weighing you or your age without asking. The capacity to perceive layers of irony is one part of my assessment, as compared with concreteness of thought. The online IQ tests aren't bad - they probably correlate within +/- 6 points of the extensive tests. Can your vanity handle it? One here: Click here: Blogthings - A Quick and Dirty IQ Test and one here: Click here: Tickle: Tests, Matchmaking and Social Networking Don't cheat - it becomes invalid if you take time. Anyone can complete a Times crossword in a year. And you can't take the same IQ test twice - invalid.
In the end, "Character is destiny," as Freud said, not meaning worldly success, but meaning that what shapes one's life is one's personality profile (which includes one's willingness to push the limits of our natural tendencies - it isn't a deterministic view). Indeed, personality traits have more to do with satisfaction in life than does IQ. On the other hand, IQ puts sharp limits on what we might be able to handle or appreciate, especially in the area of abstract thinking and the enjoyment of playing with ideas, the arts, words, and numbers.
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Tracked: Mar 24, 07:02