The figure of genius is the daughter of the Romantic era. Before, there was talk of wise men, scholars or artists with great skills. There was no doubt that the impressive attributes of these characters were the result of discipline and uncompromising dedication. In fact, the most admirable thing for the Greeks, for example, was perseverance in methods to achieve perfection in some area.
With the postulates of Romanticism the “genius” appeared as a gifted being more than any other human being, by indefinable forces. Their abilities were considered “gifts” and to that extent they were inscribed in the world of magic.
From genius to measuring genius
With the development of the sciences, new responses emerged to the exceptional talents of some people. The concept of intelligence became particularly important, rather than that of wisdom, and the brain began to be the object of incisive studies.
To unravel the reasons why some were significantly more “intelligent” than others, a genetic explanation and several hypotheses of evolutionary psychology and pedagogy were developed.
Modernity also brought with it an eagerness to define all realities in precise and, hopefully, numerical or statistical terms. The concept of “IQ” then appeared as a tool to try to measure how intelligent people are. These are standardized tests that are applied to subjects, regardless of the context in which they operate.
The test measures the factors that are considered typical of intelligence: reasoning, association, problem solving and abstraction, among others.
From the introduction of the IQ, also known as IQ or IQ, the “geniuses” are not revealed by their creations, their actions or their contributions, but by their score on the test. This has caused great controversy. While many defend this system as objective and structural, others consider that it is a biased test that only reflects what the examiners want to see.
The main criticism of the test that determines the IQ is its decontextualization. Age, mood, culture, presence or absence of previous knowledge, and a long etcetera, are factors that can alter the measurement. If a person is distressed, will he respond with the same precision as someone who is completely calm?
For many, it is also absurd that a concept as broad as intelligence, comprising multiple abilities and varying intensities, can be dissected into a fifty-minute test.
Furthermore, the concept of IC alone has an exclusive essence. Is the native who perfectly manages a forestry environment or a university student who is familiar with tests in test form more intelligent? How to explain that, for example, Steve Jobs has been called a computer genius and at the same time had made the initial decision to treat his cancer through healers and seers of dubious reputation?
To all this is added the fact that we now speak of multiple intelligences, overcoming the idea that the intellectual is reduced to only a few cognitive abilities.
Despite all these objections, in many parts of the world the IQ tests are still applied and their results are valued as a test of the degree of intelligence of a person. Perhaps it is rather a proof of the lack of information of those who are still obsessed with the myth of geniuses.
Image courtesy of Arquepoetica