Does IQ Test Measure Intelligence?

Measure Intelligence
Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.

Intelligence Quotient or IQ, as it is commonly known, is a confusing term for the masses. There is no clear definition to date for this and everyone tries to explain it in their own way. To some people, it is the term which defines a person’s ability to learn and process information with the aid* of reasoning and problem solving skills. This definition is rather confusing in itself. However, it depends on person to person and cannot be formally defined. IQ is different for different people. For you, a dog may be a loving creature full of loyalty. For another person, dog maybe simply disgusting animal with nothing better* to do than to wag his tail at his master. Therefore, as the perception and the point of view of looking at things are different for different people, their IQ level is also different. Even psychologists have remained confused over this term.

Types of Intelligence

There are nine basic types of intelligence which have been defined so far. These have been mentioned below.

1. Naturalist Intelligence

This intelligence type is commonly known as “Nature Smart” type. This type of intelligence helps in differentiating between living things such as distinguishing plants from animals. This type of intelligence is critical for chefs and researchers who need to have a keen eye for these things. Naturalist intelligence helps us in differentiating between things on daily basis. Almost everything depends on this type of intelligence to be perceived properly.

2. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence

This type of intelligence is known as “Body Smart” type. It revolves around the use of body and physical skills in doing something. It is common in athletes, surgeons and dancers who need to have a good connection of their mind with their physical moves.

3. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence

Logical-Mathematical Intelligence

People with this type of intelligence are known as “Number or Reasoning Smart”. It refers to a person’s ability to quantify, calculate and perform hypothesis on mathematical problems. It helps in driving meaning out of relationship between different things and helps in building connections. It is commonly found in people like mathematicians and scientists. They show an inclination towards numbers and patterns.

4. Existential Intelligence

This type of intelligence is helpful in driving meaning out of complicated data found for human existence. People with this type of intelligence have the ability to make sense of their lives, why they were born and how life started. They are less* confused than other people in these matters.

See AlsoHow to Improve* Memory?

5. Interpersonal Intelligence

This type of intelligence is commonly known as “People Smart” type. It helps in interacting with others and building relationships. This type of intelligence revolves around the use of verbal and nonverbal communication with other people. People who have this type of intelligence can understand other people in a good way and can tell things which affect others. They are sensitive to the moods of other people as well. Social; workers, actors and teachers are usually people smart.

6. Musical Intelligence

Musical intelligence

This is commonly known as “Music Smart” intelligence. It helps in differentiating between sounds on the basis of their tine, rhythm and pitch. The purpose of this intelligence is to translate musical notes into meaningful information (Carter, 2007). It is commonly found in musicians, vocalists and listeners who are sensitive to music. It is said that music has a connection with soul and emotions and is good for the growth of soul. Regarding this, it is thought that musical intelligence helps in improving* the thinking process when music is translated by mind to useful data. People with this type of intelligence give importance to sounds which others usually miss.

7. Linguistic Intelligence

Linguistic Intelligence

People with this type of intelligence are known as “Word Smart”. These people have the ability to make effective use of words and influence others with their speech. It enables people to use their language to give meaning to complex things. This type of intelligence is found in writers, public speakers and poets.

8. Intra-personal Intelligence

This type of intelligence is referred to as “Word Smart” intelligence. It is actually the ability to know oneself more and in a better* way. It helps in giving direction to one’s life and helps in planning for the future. This type of intelligence is found in philosophers and spiritual leaders. It makes them self-motivated towards life.

See AlsoBrain Games: Does it Really Improve* Brain Health?

9. Spatial Intelligence
People with this type of intelligence are known as “Picture Smart”. It is basically the ability to think in three dimensions. These people are good in understanding graphical data and visual aids*. They also have the ability to use spatial reasoning and can do image manipulation.

IQ Tests

In the light of above mentioned types of intelligence, it can be said that intelligence can be classified. Though its meaning may not be clear, IQ depends on these types of intelligence. People who make IQ tests study these types of intelligence carefully and on the basis of these types of intelligence, they make the tests. These tests enable them to separate people on the basis of their intelligence type from other people. It does not mean that if a person scored low on an IQ test, he has low IQ or ability to think properly. It just shows that the test basis was different from his intelligence type.

See AlsoSpices and Herbs that Boost* Brain Power

To know more about IQ and IQ tests, a study was conducted in which people were asked to take 12 tests online. These tests were aimed at measuring the memory, attention and planning of the participants. The information about the lifestyle of the participants and their backgrounds were also taken from them to build a connection between the results of the tests and the personality of the participants. The tests were designed to last for 30 minutes. The results of this study showed that the performance of participants was affected by three things. These three things were their abilities to recall what was said verbally, short term memory and their ability to reason. Lifestyle played an important role in it as well. People who were good at playing brain games or some other games on computer were able to score more on the reasoning section of the test and had better* short term memory. On the other hand, people who smoked had poor performance on short term memory and verbal portion. People who had anxiety did not do well on the test as they were not able to do proper reasoning. This study showed that the base of each type of intelligence is in different areas of the brain.

This study shows that IQ tests do measure intelligence but in the light of some external factors. IQ is not solely dependent on a person’s intelligence and intelligence or brain ability and its memory can be improved* by doing certain things. These things have been pointed out in the study that gamers have better* ability to reason and recall whereas smokers have poor ability in both areas.

This gives rise to the question of whether IQ tests actually measure intelligence. For some people, it can be a simple no in the answer given that there are many factors that can impact the test. For others, it is a method with helps in simplifying the cognitive ability of a human being. It enables in understanding a person and his ability to reason or perceive things (Elliott, 1987). On the other hand, it is believed that IQ tests can mislead you. IQ tests are not for all intelligence types at one time. These tests measure certain types of intelligence and cannot be used for all nine types. If a person is scoring low on an IQ test meant for music smart people, it does not mean that the person has low IQ or intelligence. This is the reason why there can be massive differences between the results of these tests for different people. However, people usually do not know what these types of intelligence are and hence, they believe that they are overall low in IQ or are very good at it.

IQ Tests Measure Intelligence?

IQ tests

There are mixed views about this question. Many studies have been conducted in this area which has said that IQ tests may not properly measure intelligence. If you are using IQ test to know how brilliant a person is, then you are using it for the wrong outcome. It is misleading. Brilliance of a person is not dependent on some areas of intelligence and there are external factors as well which are used to measure it. Using IQ tests to measure brilliance will not help in capturing the full essence of it. For most of the participants, IQ tests are nothing more than “fun factor” and most of them do not even answer them seriously. Having multiple answers for a question allows the participants to randomly choose any answer if they do not know the exact answer. The chosen answer may be the right one but was selected without intention. It does not reflect that person’s intelligence in that case. In addition to IQ tests, there are now EQ tests as well which are used to measure the emotional ability of a person (Simpson, 2003). These tests can be used in aid* with IQ tests but are not good enough to replace IQ tests. Even with these two tests, the brilliance of a person and his intelligence cannot be captured in a 30 minutes test. IQ tests leave many untested areas which play an important part in a person’s intelligence.

See AlsoBrain Games: Does it Really Improve* Brain Health?

Moreover, there are certain things from external environment which can impact the IQ test score too. If a person reached the test center ten minutes late due to a road accident, he will not be able to focus completely on the test. He will be nervous and confused together with anxiety attack. His ability to answer questions at that time will be largely impaired. Even if that person has better* intelligence than other people in the test room, he will perform poorly. On the other hand, a person who might be low in intelligence but was in good mood at the time of the test will get a better* score in it. Therefore, IQ tests can be misleading and are not always an accurate way of understanding the intelligence of a person.

How to improve* the IQ tests?

Given that IQ tests are meant to record a particular type of intelligence which may or may not be found in the participants. The right way to get the overall IQ level of a person is to take multiple tests which are aimed at understanding multiple areas of intelligence. For example, there can be different sets of test which the same participants are required to give and will map them on all intelligence types. It has been found that the right way to measure intelligence is to have three tests from the same group of participants in different dimensions. This is more accurate way of measuring intelligence. Otherwise, it is thought to be misleading.

See AlsoHow to Enhance* Your Brains Abilities?

In the light of the above mentioned facts and figures, it can be said that IQ tests are helpful but are not an accurate way of measuring intelligence. IQ tests help in simplifying the process of understanding a person but they miss a number of important factors which are crucial for intelligence calculation. They do not consider external factors which play an important part in the person’s ability to perform in the test. However, the tests can be improved* by taking multiple IQ tests which address multiple areas of concern. Minimum three IQ tests must be taken for accurate results.


  • Carter, P. (2007). IQ and personality tests. London: Kogan Page Ltd.
  • Elliott, R. (1987). Litigating intelligence. Dover, Mass.: Auburn House.
  • Simpson, F. (2003). IQ tests. New York: Sterling.

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Expert Author : Dr. Ahmed Zayed (Consumer Health Digest)

Dr. Ahmed Zayed Helmy holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree in 2011 at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Dr. Ahmed believes in providing knowledgeable information to readers. Other than his passion for writing, currently he is working as a Plastic surgeon and is doing his masters at Ain shams University.