IQs Can Change

If you have taken an IQ test at some point in your life, whether at school or through an evaluation, the number you achieved way back when may not be the same number you would score today. That’s because IQs can change over the years, according to new research. So instead of an IQ score being a benchmark of fixed intelligence that can be used as a predictor of success, it is really just a measurement of one “type” of intelligence1 at a randomly chosen point in time.

The study, conducted at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London, provided IQ testing to 33 typical children between the ages of 12 and 16.2 The average score was 112, and ranged between 77 and 135 points. After four years, the researchers performed a follow-up and had the participants take another IQ test. At this time, the average score was 113, only one point higher than four years earlier — not a big change. It would seem at first glance that the IQs were static. But once the numbers were broken down further, the differences were quite apparent. The range of scores was now between 87 and 143, which is 10 points higher on the low end of the spectrum and eight points higher at the top. And, when comparing each volunteer’s scores against his or her first test, some went up by as much as 21 points, and others lost up to 18 points. >

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