Sunday, May 12, 2002

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Test the Nation

The BBC tested the IQ of people from Great Britain: Test the Nation – the National IQ test. Duncan and Co. watched the show and took part in the IQ test. Can you see where he lives from this this map?

However, I wouldn’t take this test seriously for several reasons – apart from the problem that it is not even clear what the definition of the term intelligence is. (Is it what an IQ test measures?)

The results of the BBC test are not representative because only people with internet access were able to participate. And something must be wrong with the results. There are results for different groups, and the only groups available so far are star signs. Surprisingly, all star signs got an average IQ of either 110 or 111. What’s up with that? Since 100 is the average per definition, there have to be results both higher and lower than 100.

For fun, I also took the test and got a result of 117 – not too bad for an IQ test in a foreign language, I think. Some of the questions were about the meaning of words or sayings. Someone on MetaFilter said he thought the test was biased towards UK citizens.

And by the way, you need an IQ of at least 130 in order to become a member of Mensa (Mensa in Deutschland).

2 thoughts on “Sunday, May 12, 2002

  1. Duncan Smeed

    Andrea, I would guess that the IQ test was undertaken by many people out of curiosity. I don’t think many would have taken it too seriously on the night. Imbibing in alcohol during the event is likely to also have reduced peoples’ scores ;-)

    As for the skewed results – it’s to be expected since the audience that particaipated on-line were self-selecting and not very representative of the British public. However, with such a large sample size – c90,000 – from the on-liners there are some interesting stats that came out of it.

    Well done on your score since some of the questions can’t have been easy for a non-Brit.

    Cheers,

    Duncan

  2. Andrea Frick

    90,000 participants – wow, those servers must have been busy! No wonder it said in the end that it could take as much as 15 minutes until the results would be transferred.

    By the way, the most difficult question for me was Which newspapers does Helen Baxter read?. I barely had time to read the whole list of people and papers twice before the time ran out…

    Anyway, it is an interesting experiment, and I’ll be looking for more results.

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