IQ INTELLIGENCE: THE SURPRISING TRUTH
By Ceci, Stephen
i. IQ correlates with simple abilities
ii. IQ is affected by school attendance
1. Elevates IQ and prevents IQ from slipping
iii. IQ is not influenced by birth order
1. No structural aspects of family size influence a child’s IQ
iv. IQ is related to breast- feeding
1. Factors between breast-fed and non-breast fed chidren
v. IQ varies by birth date
1. Students born late in the year, as a group, show a lower IQ score
vi. IQ evens out with age
vii. Intelligence is plural, not singular
viii. IQ is correlated with head size
ix. Intelligence scores are predictive of real- world outcomes
x. Intelligence is context- dependent
xi. IQ is on the rise
xii. IQ may be influenced by school cafeteria menu
Ceci, Stephen (2001). IQ Intelligence: The Surprising Truth [Electronic Version]. Psychology Today.
Stephen Ceci’s article “IQ Intelligence: The Surprising Truth” presents twelve supported facts about intelligence and while doing this a few misconceptions are clarified. Intelligence is something that people focus on in their everyday lives and whether it is specifically called an IQ test or not we are constantly questioning each other’s intelligence. Because it is a part of our everyday culture and the experts do not share the true facts, we are left to develop our own beliefs about intelligence. With the twelve facts, Dr. Ceci shares information about IQ that is very surprising to the reader, expert or not.
The first fact presented explains how “IQ correlates with simple abilities” (Ceci 2001). It is explained how the level of IQ does not affect simple tasks like determining what line is longer out of a pair. However, the speed at which one answers the question is.
The second observation is that “IQ is affected by school attendance” (Ceci 2001). Staying in school can elevate or at least maintain one’s IQ. A student’s IQ increases with every month that he or she remains in school. Other results that were found by researching IQ’s of students is that during summer break IQ drops with each passing month of no academics. Dropping out of school, as well, diminishes one’s IQ by a couple points for each year that is not completed.
The first misconception cleared up is the one that states birth order affects IQ. It is believed by many that as more children are born IQ diminishes, but this was proven to be false. It is also not true that larger families have low-IQ’s and smaller families have high-IQs. This idea developed because it is common that people with lower IQs have more children than those with higher IQs. But the intelligence of the children is not lower because of family size.
Another claim about IQ is that it is affected by breast-feeding. Dr. Ceci was skeptical of this idea, but after doing research it was proven to be true. At first, this was believed because when breast-fed, a child spends more time with his or her mother and this closeness helps in the development of intelligence. “It turns out, however, that even when researchers control for such factors, there still appears to be a gain of 3 to 8 IQ points for breast-fed children by age three” (Ceci 2001). This shows there are some kinds of nutrients within the breast milk that perhaps block diseases that stop the growth of intelligence and help to contribute to the efficiency of nerve impulses.
It was found that “IQ varies by birth date.” This, however, is not because of “genetic potential for intelligence” being different within different groups of birthdays (Ceci 2001). Children born within the last few months of the year usually begin attending school a year later than those born earlier in the year. Because of this they have been in school a year less than their classmates so their IQ levels are lower.
Fact six explains how “IQ evens out with age” (Ceci 2001). A case study is presented. If two siblings are adopted by two different middle class families will their IQs be more similar to each other at the age where they are both living at home or when they are older and living on their own? Our reasoning would lead us to believe that it would be more similar when they are younger because they are living within similar environments and lifestyles. But research shows that the opposite occurs. When the siblings are out on their own, their genotypes have more freedom to develop on their own and take over. Because siblings have 50% of the same genes, when they are able to take over their IQs will grow closer to the same level.
The seventh fact introduced is that “intelligence is plural, not singular.” Although researchers believe that there is a thing called general intelligence, they also agree that different abilities exist such as “spatial, verbal, analytical and practical intelligence.”
These abilities contribute to our IQ in different ways. Along with these abilities researcher Howard Gardner believes there “may even be seven or eight different kinds of intelligence… including interpersonal, intrapersonal, linguistic, motoric and musical intelligence” (Ceci 2001).
Fact number eight involves the correlation of IQ and head size. This idea has been a controversy for a long time. Dr. Ceci puts this controversy to rest and states that “modern neuroimaging techniques demonstrate that cranial volume is correlated with IQ.”
The ninth fact presented is that “intelligence scores are predictive of real-world outcomes. People who have completed more school tend to earn more—over a lifetime, college graduates earn $812, 000 more than high school dropouts, and those with professional degrees earn nearly $1,600,000 more than the college grads” (Ceci 2001). Schooling is the not the only factor though because there are varying levels of IQ at each level. Statistics also show that people with lower IQs earn less than those with IQs at higher levels.
The tenth fact about IQ is that “intelligence is context-dependent.” In 1986, Dr. Ceci and a colleague did a study of people at the racetracks. The experts at the tracks used a “complex mental algorithm that converted racing data taken from the racing programs sold at the track” to predict the outcomes (Ceci 2001). However, these experts were not always as smart at doing things outside the track.
Another fact is that “IQ is on the rise. [It] has risen approximately 20 points with every generation.” This may be attributed to things such as more schooling, better nutrition, higher technology, and smarted parents with each new generation. This shows that IQ is “not some inherent quality of the mind” (Ceci 2001).
The last fact presented in the article is that strangely “IQ may be influenced by the school cafeteria menu.” A study was done in the New York City school system in which “researchers examined IQ scores before and after preservatives, dyes, colorings and artificial flavors were removed from lunch offerings. They found a 14% improvement after the removal” (Ceci 2001). This improvement was greatest in the children that had the weakest IQ scores.