More of Taleb this week, this one is by Taleb. In his usual scathingly critical style, he has a go at psychologists and their use of IQ as a measure of intelligence with plenty of evidence showing the corelation is non-existent, except that lower IQ levels do prove mental disability.

“…consider that if someone has mental needs, there will be 100% correlation between performance and IQ tests. But the performance doesn’t correlate as well at higher levels, though the psychologists will think it does.(The statistical spin, as a marketing argument, is that a person with an IQ of 70 cannot prove theorems, which is obvious for a measure of unintelligence — but they fail to reveal how many IQs of 150 are doing menial jobs)…

…If someone came up with a numerical “Well Being Quotient” WBQ or “Sleep Quotient”, SQ, trying to mimic temperature or a physical quantity, you’d find it absurd. But put enough academics w/physics envy on it and it will become an official measure…..

…The argument by psychologists to make IQ useful is of the sort: who would you like to do brain surgery on you/who would you hire in your company/who would you recommend, someone with a 90 IQ or one with 130is …academic. Well, you pick people on task-specific performance, which should include this filtering. In the real world you interview people from their CV (not from some IQ sent to you as in a thought experiment), and, once you have their CV, the 68 IQ fellow is weeded out. So the only think for which IQ can select, the mentally disabled, is already weeded out in real life: he/she can’t have a degree in engineering or medicine. Which explains why IQ is unnecessary and using it is risky because you miss out on the Einsteins and Feynmans.”

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