|Developing an IQ Test
Concept and Goal
This activity encourages you to think about how intelligence tests reflect cultural themes and biases. It also encourages you to analyze how intelligence might be defined, how it is likely to operate, and for what purpose it might be measured, while divorcing you from the particular your group you are to develop an IQ test and justify it. Each small group will present the test developed, the justification for the test, and prepare the discussion questions for class interaction.
Please get into groups of 3-5 students and choose one of the three cultures below. This is a group activity that will be completed outside of class. Devise an intelligence test for people in that culture; make sure that your test includes nonverbal items. Assume that only people who will use the test results are those in the culture described. Be as specific and detailed as you can. Be ready to discuss the reasons for your choices and state how you think the test should be used within that culture. How would you present your proposed test to people in this culture, and how would they be likely to respond? If you have to convince them to adopt your test, what would you say? Why?
You will present your test and justification to the class in a 10-20 minute presentation. You will pretend that members of the class are people from your chosen culture. How will you present your test? How will you get them to participate? Please give a typed copy of your test or a description of the items to the instructor. Visual aids are encouraged.
Your report should include:
Your group’s definition of intelligence (which may be copied from the textbook)
A copy of your I.Q. Test
Answers to the I.Q. Test
An explanation of how your I.Q. Test is scored or a scale. (If I answer 10 questions correctly am I a genius, above average, average, below average, a complete dolt. . . ?) Explain how to score your test
Answers to the discussion questions
Do not simply copy questions directly from an internet I.Q. Test. I will know! Not only have I taken most of these I.Q. tests, if I suspect that you have plagiarized I will use “Turn it In” software to confirm your cheating. If you cheat on this project every group member will FAIL this assignment and potentially the course! You may use other IQ tests to get ideas for questions to ask, but you must cite them using APA format.
Intelligence is not the same thing as survival! Be certain that the questions on your IQ Test truly test the hypothetical construct of intelligence and not some other construct like survival.
While the cultures are fake, you can do research that will help you to make a better test. For example, if you choose Culture 1 you can do research on cultures in the South Pacific before their colonization by non-indigenous persons. If you choose Culture 2, you could look for information regarding intelligence testing for individuals who are deaf, blind, or use English as a second language. If you choose culture 3 you will need to conduct research on cultures that were prevalent approximately 4000 years ago (approximately 2000 B.C.). You will not be able to create a test which will be valid in every culture 4000 years ago, so you should pick one or two to focus on.
Antarea is a sun-drenched, tropical island nation in the South Pacific, consisting of a series of tiny, closely packed islands. Each island is separated from its neighbors by a thin strip of navigable water, with rivers and streams criss-crossing each island as well. Thus, the primary mode of daily Antarean transportation is swimming. In fact, people commonly spend many hours each day in the water, either going from one place to another or even standing in shallow water to socialize or conduct business transactions. Antareans are completely insulated, never having made contact with any cultures from the rest of the world. Indeed, they are apparently unaware that there even is a “rest” of the world, since no Antarean has ever left the island chain or seen evidence of humans living outside their culture.
Zostereans are people born with a specific brain defect whose only consequence is to prevent the capacity to use speech. They cannot produce speech or understand the speech of others; these characteristics apply to vocal speech, written language, and sign language. Other than this one feature, Zostereans are completely normal. But, because Western cultures emphasize language so heavily, Zostereans find it difficult, confusing, and embarrassing to operate in most Western cultures. Thus, they generally live in their homeland, Zosteria, which is entirely populated by Zostereans, and rarely venture outside its borders.
A magical genie grants Hilda, the historian, one wish. Hilda says, “Well, I’ve always wanted to know more about the people who lived on earth 4000 years ago, so bring me some people from that time so I can talk to them.” Unfortunately, the genie misunderstood and brought every single human who was alive on earth exactly 4000 years ago to the present. Suddenly, millions of people appeared on the earth mainly in and around the Portland, Oregon area, where Hilda had met the genie. These “Transplantons,” as they came to be called by the news media covering the phenomenon, are people who suddenly appeared in the American Pacific Northwest around the turn of the 21st century; from the Transplantons’ point of view, however, moments ago they were in the time period of 4000 years ago.
What factors did you consider important in developing an IQ test for the culture you chose? Why were these factors important?
Do you have confidence that the final IQ test you developed will be a reliable and valid measure of intelligence for the group you chose for the purposes you will be administering it? Why or why not?
Is it possible to develop a culturally unbiased IQ test? Why or why not?
Cole, M., Gay, J., & Sharp, D. (1971). The cultural context of learning and thinking: An exploration in experimental anthropology. New York: Basic Books.
Shenker, J., Goss, S., & Bernstein, D. (1997). Instructor’s Manual to accompany Bernstein Psychology, 4th ed. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin
Sternberg, R. (1995). Testing common sense. American Psychologist, 50. 912-927.
Sternberg, R. (1998). In search of the human mind, 2nd ed. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace.