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Intelligence and IQ Testing

A Look at the History, Questions and Issues in IQ Testing


Intelligence has been an important and controversial topic throughout psychology's history. In addition to questions of exactly how to define intelligence, the debate continues today about whether it can be accurately measured. While psychologists often disagree about the definition and causes of intelligence, research on intelligence plays an important role in many areas including policy decisions regarding how much funding should be given to educational programs, the use of testing to screen job applicants and the use of testing to identify children who need additional academic assistance.

The term "intelligence quotient," or IQ, was first coined in the early twentieth century by a German psychologist named William Stern. Since that time, intelligence testing has emerged as a widely used tool that has led to the development of many other tests of skill and aptitude. However, it continues to spur debate and controversy over the use of intelligence tests, cultural biases, influences on intelligence and even the very way we define intelligence.

In order to gain a deeper understanding of intelligence and the tests that have been developed in an attempt to measure this concept, it is important to understand the history of intelligence testing, the scientific research that has been conducted and the findings that have emerged.

Major questions about intelligence and IQ testing:

  • Is intelligence a single ability, or does it involve an assortment of multiple skills and abilities?

  • Is intelligence inherited, or does the environment play a larger role?

  • Are intelligence tests biased?

  • What do intelligence scores predict, if anything?

In order to explore these questions, psychologists have conducted a considerable amount of research on the nature, influences and effects of intelligence. Begin learning more about some of these questions and discoveries by exploring the following section on intelligence and intelligence testing.

Intelligence and IQ Testing

The History of Intelligence Testing
Understanding IQ Test Scores
Theories of Intelligence
What Factors Influence Intelligence?
What Is Considered a Genius IQ Score?

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