Cognitive Sciences Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for practitioners, researchers, and students in cognitive science, psychology, neuroscience, and psychiatry. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I would like to know how psychologists come up with the questions they include in an IQ test and how they know that those questions will accurately measure intelligence? How has it been proved that IQ tests do indeed work?

share|improve this question
@Christian I can see that you feel that iq tag would be useful. Please discuss issue in meta before engaging in mass retagging. If the community approves of this, only then do it. There is an argument that the iq tag is not required. i.e., many questions tagged intelligence are about iq; having both tags will mean that many people using the iq tag will fail to apply the broader discipline tag. – Jeromy Anglim Apr 27 '15 at 1:29
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Alfred Binet developed the first intelligence measurement with some psychological validity. He asked general psychological questions from groups discovered by Spearman of varying difficulty based in the (not yet discovered) concept of fluid intelligence to children. Some did well some did not. This led to an age standardized test called the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test. Which essentially was problems of varying difficulty tested on many different children of diverse backgrounds to create a baseline. Results were grouped by age in order to give a predicted evaluation of common performance ability.

IQ tests do not work as a measurement of success and no one thinks that they do. They do work as a measurement of specifically identified and labeled cognitive ability. They are more useful psychologically in identifying cognitive problems to give treatments or accommodations than providing congratulatory measures to those who perform well.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.