Last night CBC had a two hour special called Test the Nation. It was essentially a 60 question IQ test that the viewers could take along with the studio audience.
Their hook was that as the test went on, they would give some statistics about how well various groups of people were doing compared to others—the in-studio group of surgeons compared to fitness instructors (surgeons came out on top), red heads versus blondes (red heads), and men versus women (men, but only by 1 point). Shaun Majumder came out ahead of the other Canadian celebrities, but the overall winner was from the millionaire team with an IQ of 137. He won a free trip somewhere, but somehow I don’t think Daddy Warbucks was overly ecstatic about that one.
Questions varied between Sesame Street style “one of these things is not like the other” style, remembering details in a picture or video, basic mathematics, word definitions, and recognizing patterns.
Though fairly entertaining, I don’t think the test was as focused on innate intelligence as they claimed. Since you generally only had 10 to 20 seconds for each question, it often only tested how quickly you could read questions and do simple calculations. (“If two people are walking two dogs each, how many legs are there?”)
“So, it’s like the GREs,” quipped one girl in my philosophy class. The same criticisms apply to any purported intelligence test, I suppose.
One question in particular really raised a red flag. The task was to fill in the blank and complete the series: Arden, Dion, ______, Lavigne, and another name I can’t remember. How, exactly, does recognizing the last names of several female Canadian musicians indicate how intelligent I am? I’m still not sure what the pattern was. Alphabetical? Age? Juno award wins? With 1 second left, I guessed Twain; the answer was Furtado.
In the end my IQ was 126, whatever that means. I’m not sure if being able to divide two numbers, remember the definition of “altruistic”, or recognize rotational isomorphisms in 10 seconds makes me any smarter than someone who takes 15. These things can be practiced. Then again I’m also not convinced knowing why Furtado fits in the sequence makes you any smarter than me. At least this is more believable than other IQ tests I’ve taken on the internet, which have put me as high as 154 and as low as 76. Take from it what you will.