Are IQ test designers the smartest

South German IQ test unreliable - considerations to increase intelligence

On the subject of "increasing intelligence" I am currently scouring various IQ tests on the Internet. Of course, I couldn't avoid the IQ test of the southern Germans. Although this test does provide some interesting tasks, the result seems very questionable in the end. As you can see from my result, I made one mistake in four areas and no mistake in two areas. This performance then amounts to an IQ of 130, which should correspond to around 2 percent of the top group.

In other words, I just missed the cafeteria criterion, as the test proceeds with a standard deviation of 16. Standard deviation 16 means, among other things, that the test “diagnoses” giftedness with two standard deviations from the average value. With an average of 100, the value is 132. The different standard deviations used can also explain why Americans mostly give different and much higher IQs. In these cases it is worthwhile to inquire about the standard deviation. What does it mean, for example, that Sharon Stone owns an IQ of 154 or Madonna adorns herself with a loose 140? Without knowing the standard deviations, this doesn't do much. And meanwhile it is probably also known that Stone is more of a fake than an intelligence beast.

But not only that. In addition to the whole IQ labyrinth, some give values ​​that were determined in childhood, but then the value is corrected upwards accordingly. In Great Britain, for example, it is very common for the cafeteria to accept three-year-old toddlers into the club of the intellectually beautiful who supposedly have an IQ of 159 or even 162. In the respective editorial offices of Spiegel and Stern, however, nobody is surprised at these results and simply delivers them to us without any critical questions.

This is how it can be explained in the case of Marylin Vos Savant that the test, which she allegedly took when she was 10, was extrapolated to such an extent that she was listed in the Guinness Book as the most intelligent person in the world for four years. But the alleged 225 points only came about because Vos Savant had cheated a lot in the calculation. And let's face it, why should the performance of a three year old who takes a test of maybe 130 IQ points compare to an adult at the level of 220?

No matter what standard deviation the South German test uses, no matter what age the test takes into account, the reliability of the test, as with so many Internet tests, is highly questionable. And if even Matthias Moel, a member of Mensa, doubts that Mensa members would solve all the tasks correctly, then the test is probably not to be taken seriously. So we come to the sources of error

Sources of error in the IQ test of the southern Germans

1. Bad rank, only four mistakes decide genius or not genius The four mistakes I made in this test should be spread over the range up to 150, that is, if I had made two fewer mistakes, I would be 140. That this is actually the case appears to me in view probably due to the sloppy test design. Since I was actually dealing with minimal mistakes, I would almost have been ennobled to the status of genius. At the same time, however, the question arises as to which crashes would have resulted in additional minimal calculation errors. So how quickly would I have scratched past a 130 and landed in the Valley of the Forsaken? If we take these considerations into account, the measurement accuracy of the South German IQ test is highly dependent on chance. Now I don't want to claim that I deserved a higher IQ, but this result is simply misleading and should consistently frustrate others, insofar as they actually belong on the plateau of the cafeteria association. Even if the scaling should be correct with regard to the standard deviation, such a test should have a wider range. Of 80 tasks, the answer to at least 80 percent should already cover the range from 130 in order to allow scaling up to range 150 at all. I even know of tests where an answer of almost 50 percent is sufficient. Therefore, at the moment the probability is that the test IQ freaks can just as easily be measured into wrong areas by simple wrong clicks or minor calculation errors.

2. No increase in the level of difficulty

In addition, the level of difficulty of the tasks does not differ that much. In my opinion, the test measures more accuracy and speed. Although these criteria should not be neglected, the test should simply bring up questions that indicate different degrees of difficulty and allow a wider range. James Flynn also draws attention to the fact that a good intelligence test must show the same increase in difficulty. For example, if we were all to measure how well we can tie our shoes, we might all have quite similar values. This is exactly where the limit of the test is: For example, the series of numbers are always built according to the same principle, whereby it is always a question of repeating a series of alternating operations. The logic tasks follow simple elimination procedures and the Sudoku test gives experienced Sudoku players a clear advantage. The always same principles, in any case, do not speak for questions of intelligence, but stand for practice.

3. Possible measurement errors?

As has already been shown in some forum discussions about the South German IQ test (where, by the way, there are somehow only 140 IQ people), the South German test is not reliable. Many compare other results with the test and come to enormous deviations. This may be due to various factors: First of all, I don't know exactly whether the test has been specially calibrated or whether it is determined with regard to the previous test participants. If this is the case, it must be assumed that it was the more intelligent clientele who tested the IQ test, so that there is a downward distortion. That means, if on average, the participants are IQ cannons of 110, then 110 is the new 100. In addition, multiple completion of the test by the participants on the Internet is not uncommon, for example to track possible deviations and understand the scaling. The more participants do not make the test more reliable, but more and more imprecise.

Increase personal note and intelligence

To my previous tests I have to add that I have always achieved a range of 125 - 135 (this is still considered pretty stupid in some IQ circles such as the Tripple Nine Society). When I was able to thankfully repeat a class at school, it was officially certified as an illness. So I should actually be satisfied with the test, but for a cafeteria admission, which I would like to aim for, it should be very tight for me. However, Kiril (conductor in Tübingen) and I have decided to prepare for it in the long term. Increasing intelligence does not turn out to be the problem in terms of such tests. The so-called G-factor, as the psychologist Flynn also takes this view, can certainly be trained.

Increase in intelligence necessary?

However, it is questionable how we should evaluate such an increase in intelligence, perhaps we are mainly practicing how to pass such tests well. Rick Rosner, for example, who is currently in second place with an IQ of 192, has to take 20 hours of intelligence tests himself in order to take first place again. Then when I look at the mental results of other IQ heroes from this list, I start to brood. I believe that when we increase intelligence with regard to IQ tests, from a certain point on we only train how to solve these tasks. Of course, I cannot deny that I enjoy solving such tasks on a permanent basis, although in the doctoral degree I tend to be less demanding of such intellectual skills, but from a certain point onwards this game may be like building sandcastles of intelligence and apart from the artistic value of the Puzzles themselves little in common with our society. It is noteworthy, for example, that Nobel laureate in physics Richard Feynman achieved an IQ of 125 in high school (source:[3]So even a physics genius only needs the basic equipment. It is said that with certain travel destinations it almost doesn't matter whether we drive a Ferrari or a VW, because in the real world only continuity of thought is important.

So after Feynman won the Nobel Prize, Mensa offered him membership. Feynman turned down the offer of the highly gifted association, after all he had not met the admission criterion of at least 2 standard deviations.

More IQ tests

If you want to continue training IQ tests (and thinking can't be bad for a change) there are a few more to be found here.

In my opinion, a very good IQ test is provided by, whereby the task difficulties are already increasing sharply and the solutions are not published. In addition, this test was allegedly calibrated on 250,000 people. Admittedly, that actually sounds very expensive and for this reason it sounds like an unpleasant Internet calibration. However, more detailed information cannot be found and the test seems plausible to me. Here is my result:




This test is probably the hardest in terms of difficulty. Allegedly, this should also measure well in high areas and was created in such a way that it is culturally neutral. I have to admit that I practiced this test a lot with Kiril to get the following result. Here, too, the test engineers probably thought that an internet-based evaluation would show the actual IQ, but the authors made a mistake, because the fact that Kiril and I did this test at least 20 times shows that others probably also did not only done once and have consistently increased their results. I even consider the test to be good training that you should treat yourself to from time to time. Shifts are therefore to be expected. And again: IQ tests that are calibrated on the basis of the Internet are therefore not reliable. However, anyone who immediately achieves an IQ of 150 in this Internet test can celebrate themselves as a genius, because in my opinion the test is really difficult.

I would be interested in what you can achieve straight away, I was somehow at 120, which is not great.

Intelligence in picture

So and if you want to do a test for stupid people, where the IQ is distorted downwards because it is more likely to be completed by IQ cannons around 90, you can also take a look at the Bildzeitung. Anyone who is good there then also gets the measurement accuracy corresponding to the IQ expectation. The test said to me: “You are really smart.” Hell, I wouldn't have thought that.


I hope the article was thought-provoking and training and has gathered some interesting information, if so please share or comment. I would be interested in the results you achieved. Otherwise, I'll be putting together another article on my other blog about IQ and the smartest people in the world for the next few days. Please add me to Google+, subscribe to me by email or join the Facebook group in the top right corner. An RSS feed is of course also available as well as a “tremendously interesting” Pinterest wall on the subject of learning. Otherwise you can write to me if you have joint projects in mind. Norman Schultz Pittsburgh 2013



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