We create IQ tests that at the high end more or less test for neurotic and obsessive/compulsive minds, and then *surprise* we find that everyone who scores really really high on them are neurotic and obsessive/compulsive. Shocking! Were we really testing for intelligence at all? Are some of those people very useful for their obsessive minds in the exact right conditions? Absolutely. What percentage of them are actually capable of doing much at all that's exceptional and valuable? About the same as among the general population.
Because this made the thought pop into my head, I wish there was a "there is no pattern" kind of answer for these tests. Some people are way too good at seeing patterns in things.
Yeah. That's actually a problem. There's always a pattern in everything, if you look hard enough (and/or are the right kind of mind). But in the real world, sometimes the patterns you see aren't really relevant at all. Actually, most of the time, they aren't. It's why I question whether we're really testing for intelligence with these kinds of tests. Seeing a pattern and knowing what it means are two completely different things. We're almost testing more for high functioning autism (or whatever other kind of neurosis fits) than intelligence, and I think it's a mistake to confuse the two.
The greatest minds in history were the ones who had both the ability to see things in ways other didn't, but also the ability to discern what things they saw mattered. Being able to dismiss the irrelevant is likely a far more important trait when assessing intelligence, yet I'm not aware of any
test which does this directly (or very well). Another way to look at it is that there are an infinite number of wrong answers out there. It's easy to contrive a test in which he who can see the one correct pattern or answer that fits fastest and best "wins". And that's largely what we do with IQ tests. It's a lot harder to construct a test in which one is required to derive a course of action from information given, or provide multiple equally "correct" answers, but pick the one that is best in some way, or, better yet, to have no actual right answer, but pick from the best of a set of wrong ones (which would drive the high IQ scorers nuts btw).
Those are skills that are often far far more useful in life. Cause the real world isn't black and white. Edited, Mar 26th 2013 2:13pm by gbaji