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IQ debunked by largest online intelligence study

First Posted: Dec 21, 2012 12:29 PM EST

IQ as a singular measure for a person's intelligence is misleading, instead at least three different components are needed when exploring and measuring various cognitive abilities. These findings are among the results of the largest online intelligence study on record by a Canadian Western University research team with more than 100,000 participants.

The study was open to anyone, from around the world, and included 12 cognitive tests requiring abilities like reasoning, memory, planning abilities and attention, complemented by some requested information about the participants background like lifestyle habits.

This setup combined with over 100,000 respondents resulted in a huge amount of interesting data, not only useful to determine better ways to measure intelligence, but also how it is influenced by certain lifestyles and over time.

The study identified reasoning, short-term memory and a verbal component as the three components of cognitive ability which are most important to measure the performance in various tests. One step empoyed by the scientists to qualify these components was the mapping of those different abilities to certain distinct areas in the brain, active while solving one or another test, using the brain scanning technique known as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Perhaps not surprisingly, aging was found to have a profoundly adverse impact on brain performance especially in the categories memory and reasoning. On the upside, the regular playing of computer games correlated with significantly higher results in the memory and reasoning departments.

A follow-up on the research is already in motion, with a new version of the online test. 

 

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