Friday, February 7, 2014

Smarter Than You Might Think

It's suddenly 2006 again and everyone is taking tests online to see what TV show character they are or some other absurd delineation related to pop culture. Of course it's an unspoken requirement that you must post your results on Facebook because how else would anyone know that you you are Donna from That 70s Show? I succumbed to an IQ test a couple days ago because I've always been curious and while I had my doubts as to the veracity of the test, I couldn't resist. Most of the questions seemed extremely simple - problems that could be solved by pulling at the strings until it unraveled - but then the last 4 or 5 completely dumbfounded me and I couldn't see the pattern with a gun to my head. When the results came back I was shocked at my score because it was way higher than I would have expected. Shouldn't it be lower because I couldn't answer the "hard" questions? Then it occurred to me that the "hard" questions are probably nauseatingly simple to folks with IQs of 180 for example.

Bragging about an online IQ test on Facebook would be both stupid and obnoxious so I didn't post my results for general viewing but made a comment about it in a private group of close friends who were all raised in weird home schooled environments like me. One guy commented that he doesn't put much stock in the tests because he comes out as brilliant whenever he completes similar quizzes. Then last night I talked to another friend from the same background who took the test I did also receiving a similar score. She was surprised as well which got me thinking. I'm not making a case here that we are geniuses on par with Einstein but I find it interesting how people similar to me are hesitant to accept good results related to their intelligence. Because most of my friends were discouraged from going to college and we aren't breaking open ground in quantum physics or curing cancer, we feel like proof of intelligence must be a failure in the measuring stick at best or an aberration in the test at worst. 

While it may not have been intentional, teaching your kids enough to make them useful but not giving them the confidence or opportunities to succeed is a great way to control someone (it's also a great way to fuck up someone's head). To all you minions out there who are probably way more intelligent than you think: when someone tells you you are smart or a test says so, don't do this 

but instead say thank you and accept it. It's a proven psychological fact that if you think you are smart you are way more likely to do well on exams etc. Your potential is probably untapped so knock the valve off that oxygen cylinder and go nuts.

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