What is your IQ?

You may well be one of those people who wear your IQ score like a badge of honour, trotting it out at appropriate (and inappropriate) moments in order to impress.

Or you could be like me and simply couldn’t give a flying fig.

I did know my IQ score once. I reluctantly discovered it a few years ago for a newspaper feature on Mensa – the brainy peoples’ secret society of choice.

But I forgot it as quickly as I was told it. I think I was above average, but I can’t be sure.

Maybe that is why I greeted news that today’s teenagers have a collective IQ score two points lower than teenagers tested 20 years ago with a metaphorical shrug of the shoulders.

I don’t see it as a cause for concern because intelligence is measured in so many different ways.

Compared to the average teenager in the 1980s, for example, today’s generation are IT boffins. And as we now live in an increasingly IT-dominated world, the skills and experience today’s teenagers have amassed in such a short space of time better equips them for the years ahead than a largely meaningless IQ score ever will.

I’ve also met a few high-scoring IQers who frankly lacked some fairly basic knowledge, common sense and intelligence.

I can’t help thinking that IQ fails because it doesn’t factor in the most important variable – us.

The human brain doesn’t always work the way it should, or the way we want it to, for all manner of reasons.

As a case in point, a few years ago I found myself nominated for a national award (I didn’t win, but had a very enjoyable lunch out of it) thanks to my big brainy writing skills.

I had to ring up the organisers to confirm my attendance. The telephone conversation went something like this:

  • Organiser: Many congratulations on your nomination Mr Groves, can I have your first initial for the official invite?
  • Me: Thank you. Yes, my initial is P.
  • Organiser: Sorry, was that P?
  • Me: Yes, P for…ummmm…P for Patrick.
  • Organiser: Well, congratulations again then Patrick.
  • Me: ….ummmm…my name is Paul.
  • Organiser: Oh, I thought you said it was P for Patrick.
  • Me: It is, but my name is Paul.
  • Organiser: OK…
  • Me: (finally having twigged why she sounded confused after a very pregnant pause). Sorry, I’ve no idea why I said Patrick. It was the first name I could think of.
  • Organiser: Right. But your name is Paul?
  • Me: Yes. Is there anything else?
  • Organiser: No, Mr Groves. That’s all I need.

Maybe that is why I didn’t win the award?

No matter. Hopefully that snippet of conversation shows how our brains sometimes work in mysterious ways and no amount of testing or scoring will factor in such foggy moments.

So I’m not sure it really matters what IQ scores today’s teenagers.

Like so many things in life, it isn’t the size that matters but what you do with it which really counts.

  • For those who do care, test your IQ here.

9 responses »

  1. Ursula says:

    I tell you what P stands for, Paul – taking the piss. Next time just say “Papa, Alfa, Uniform, Lima”. See if the international phonetic alphabet will do the trick; or maybe they’ll just hang up.

    I couldn’t agree more with you about wearing your IQ quota like a badge of honour. 123 and a half, 165, 183? So what? Felix recently tested my IQ in the middle of the night when I was half asleep and had had more than my fair share of many a bottle of wine. Let’s just say he didn’t believe the result (who wants to be the son of an idiot?). Neither did I – nor did I care. I know people with sky high IQs who are complete imbeciles; indeed I know people with low IQs who are also complete imbeciles. As you say: It’s not how big it is it’s what you do with it.

    As to collective scores – pass me my well worn piece of driftwood to stifle any sound.


    PS Word count:: 168, Characters (with spaces): 842

  2. Paul Groves says:

    U: If I can’t remember that P is for Paul, what makes you think I can remember Papa, Alfa, Uniform, Lima etc?

    MsCreative will vouch for the fact that if I try to use that alphabet I just get in more of a mess:
    A – aardvark
    B – boffin
    C – chips…
    …and so on and so forth.
    When it comes to certain letters, I just end up using swear words.

  3. dp says:

    Digressing for a moment, my take on the conversation w. Organiser is that she ought to have noted your name when she answered the phone. Or did you introduce yourself as Mister Groves?

    I’ve been through this routine so may times that I have a ‘phone name’ solely to get around the awkwardness of reciting, repeating, spelling my surname. I suggest you get one too. That way, when you call the next organiser you can say your name is Cool Daddy, but that you are speaking on behalf of Mr P. Groves.

  4. Paul Groves says:

    dp: Good idea. I usually say: “Hello, my name is Groves…”. I find it easier to start with just the surname and then work from there.

    I think I’ve been influenced by my dad who gave up introducing himself as Brin Groves, because it invariably got corrupted to something like “Mr Springfold” – or once memorably over a hotel tannoy system: “Paging Mr Springroll”.

  5. dp says:

    Oh, and the nice thing about having a phone name is that I never get annoyed when someone can’t spell it.

  6. Ursula says:

    Paul, by way of consolation: I like springrolls, a lot.

    dp, put me out my curious misery: What phoney phone name would you suggest for me? Ursula is clearly engaging since not that common in this country but having a four letter surname (yes, really) is a spelling pain in the proverbial.


  7. Rosemary says:

    “Hello, my name is Groves

    Be honest here Paul,it was watching too many Bond films 😛

  8. Paul Groves says:

    Rosemary: Curses, my cover is blown. Although I’m probably more Desmond Llewellyn that Sean Connery.

  9. dp says:

    Oh Gosh. This blows my reputation. I chose Cool Daddy on thebasis that it’s easy to spell, not because it reveals something I know about Paul. And in your case I don’t even have a surname! So I’ve got to go further out on a limb in making a suggestion. How about Sunny Day? Not only is it easy to spell,but you’ll have the advantage of surprise over them when they struggle to decide whether you’re joking or not?

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