Opinion: Why Your IQ May Not Matter

That Psych Nerd

The one truth about your IQ that isn't as exciting as you might think

Disclaimer: Although I have personal and professional experience in the mental health field, I am not a licensed mental health professional. The information contained in this article is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. The contents of this article are not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any disorder.



In college, I loved neuroscience and how the brain worked. I loved understanding the various structures, and I how those structures influenced how we interacted with the world.

I began to work in research, spending my undergraduate years in psychology research labs. I worked for a cognition lab in my psychology department that taught me about neuropsychology. I learned how to administer intelligence tests and other cognitive and attention tasks.

I became so interested in all of my work that I decided I was going to pursue a job that was in neuropsychology. Through my journey, I found that I didn't want to be a neuropsychologist, so I veered more towards tech work. I just want to assist with conducting neuropsychological tests. I saw a job opening from a neuropsychology practice at the hospital I worked at.

I applied and got the job shortly after.

I learned that I loved testing and quickly became very good at it. Although I no longer work in neuropsychology, I still loved every bit of what I learned. My days were filled with testing one patient for 5 or more hours in a day. Sometimes, I would be testing from 8am to 6pm a few days a week. It was rough, and I found it just wasn't for me.

But I have learned a lot about how our brain works and how neuropsychology is practiced. I still very much love learning about the brain and reading through research. I simply fulfill this differently by writing articles.

Through my learning testing, I found that our IQ, the coveted number that determined just how smart we are, wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

Testing has many factors

The first thing I learned was IQ tests. Before I continue, I want to explain that test confidentiality is a top priority. Tests need to be secret and hidden from the general public. So I will not be discussing the various facets of the test, but rather what the test measures and the purpose.

I learned that neuropsychology and simply testing were delicate art with many factors that needed to be controlled.

The lighting must be adequate, the noise level must be low, and distractions must be as low as possible. Patients need to be able to concentrate on what they are doing.

Your intelligence cannot be tested and understood off of on singular test.

There has to be a battery of run tests, all looking at similar things. So your IQ is among many different factors. Your IQ covers a bunch of different parts of your overall functioning like processing speed (how fast you do tasks with accuracy).

The number is a measure, not a label

The first thing I wanted to know was what my IQ was. But unfortunately, I am unable to ever have my IQ tested. Because I know the tests and how they are conducted, my results would give an inadequate description of who I am.

But after testing multiple people and working closely with my coworkers and the doctors in practice, I learned that IQ isn't as important as you would think. Yes, intelligence is important, BUT it is not as important socially as we think.

I know friends and family that are terrified to learn about their IQ. Or I see people posting on Facebook taking a simple quiz to guess their IQ.

Diagnostically, IQ is an essential factor, but it is not the only important measure. Really, your IQ is meant for your clinicians to understand. Your IQ truly holds know weight into your worth or purpose in this world. In fact, your IQ changes throughout different parts of our life.

IQ isn't based on facts or complex math problems but on how you perform across various subtests. From there, you can see overall performance.

Don't sweat it

At the end of the day, we are not walking around with our IQs on our forehead. IQ is a specific measure to be interpreted by a licensed professional trained.

I hope a little insight can help you understand that IQ is just a number.

A high IQ does not make you a super mega genius that can conquer anything. IQ isn't related to happiness.


At the end of the day, a standard score used to measure intelligence does not define you. In no way have I seen a doctor trained in IQ tests label a patient based on their IQ. Live your life, and don't be held prisoner to this number.


Stay Connected with This Author: https://linktr.ee/JenniferMarch13 (check out my ‘Story Spotlight’ to read more of my work! Happy reading! ğŸŒž)

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MS in Psychology | Mom of three cats and some house plants | #MentalHealthAdvocate #BeKind


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