What is your IQ? You don’t know. Welcome to the club. I don’t know mine either. I graduated from Richfield High School in 1955. I later went on to earn a doctorate in Comparative Education. To the best of my knowledge, I have never taken an IQ test at any time in my life, thought I have had occasions where I was called upon to analyze how they are constructed and what they mean. The whole testing mania is something that is characteristic of our time. When I was in grade school, we didn’t need an IQ test to tell us who the smart kids were. They all sat on the front row of the classroom, and they answered all of the teacher’s questions. The rest of us sat at the back of the room, and we entertained ourselves by passing notes to one another.
Some people do not seem to know what an IQ score means. They have read a piece of fiction on the Internet, which claims Trump’s IQ is 156. If you read the piece a little further, you will discover that it is not an actual score on any particular IQ test, but it is a wild guess on the part of one psychologist in order to call attention to himself. Trump is the right age that he could have taken either the Stanford-Binet, an individualized picture test, or the Wechsler, a largely verbal group test. If he took either test, no one knows his score. Trump’s make-believe score is merely inferred from the fact that he graduated from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania. What his grades were we don’t know. The internet piece compares Trump’s fantasy IQ with those of other Presidents of the United States, all of whom lived long before IQ tests were invented, which was largely after WWI.
Before we can talk sensibly about IQ scores, we must first try to decide on a definition of intelligence. Sad to say, there is no common agreement about what intelligence is or is not. Boring, who was a high-powered psychologist at Harvard University, said: “Intelligence is what an intelligence test tests,” which is a circular, redundant argument. Is intelligence a quantitative experience, like counting fish in a barrel; or is it a qualitative experience, like making love to a beautiful woman or a handsome man? Which would you choose?