IQ-Brain Blog

IQ testing is nothing new

Mozart was subjected to IQ testing at age 8Some critics have either attempted to dismiss IQ testing as being baseless or lacking scientific measurement. What these people often forget is that IQ testing is not a new concept and has been around for millennia.

Although the blood relatives of the modern-day IQ test came to life in the late 1890s, cognitive ability tests can be traced back to 4000 B.C. In Asia, it is believed that the Chinese Emperor gave proficiency tests to his officials every third year.

This Chinese tradition continued as 1,000 years later, the Chan Dynasty was reported to have administered proficiency tests to would-be officials, which on the face of it appears like a sensible practice.

Over 700 years later in in Europe, Mozart had been ordered to be tested by King George the 3rd, with the test having been administered by philosopher Daines Barrington around 1763. Mozart had composed his first symphony by age 8.

IQ testing has always been around in one form or another

So human beings have always been interested in the measurement of intelligence, but it was not until Frenchman Alfred Binet came along that cognitive ability tests would receive a major scientific upgrade. Grand children of Binet’s tests are still in existence today, over a century later. But Binet’s greatest contribution to the science of IQ testing are not his questions per se, but rather the introduction of the concept of error in testing. That is, unlike height or body weight, or even strength, the measurement of human intelligence cannot be done with pinpoint accuracy, which is why an individual’s global IQ score must not be viewed as immutable or absolute, but rather a snapshot of someone’s intellectual ability at a particular point in time.

To get a snapshot of your IQ, click here.