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Number intended to represent a measure of relative intelligence as determined by the subject's responses to a series of test problems. The IQ was originally computed as the ratio of a person's mental age to his or her chronological (physical) age, multiplied by 100, but use of the concept of mental age has been largely discontinued, and IQ is now generally assessed on the basis of the statistical distribution of scores. The most widely used intelligence tests are the Stanford-Binet test (1916), for children, and the Wechsler test (1939), originally for adults but now also for children. A score above 130 is considered to reflect giftedness, while a score below 70 is considered to reflect mental impairment or intellectual disability. Intelligence tests have provoked great controversy, particularly about what kinds of mental ability constitute intelligence and whether IQ adequately represents these abilities, and about cultural and class bias in test construction and standardization procedures.
Variants of IQ
IQ in full intelligence quotient
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on IQ, visit Britannica.com.