Watching an Instructional Video Proven To Boost IQ Test Scores

The study highlighted the worrying change in IQ scores.
Fabienne Lang

Taking an IQ test is meant to help measure someone's reasoning ability: how well do they use information and logic in order to answer questions or make predictions. 

A recent study has shown that ahead of taking an IQ test some candidates were shown an explainer video, while others went in blindly. Those who watched the video scored 18 points higher than those who didn't. A worrying piece of information.

The study was published in Science Direct.

Points in the right direction

The recent study, carried out by scientists at Saarland University in Germany and the University of Luxembourg, demonstrated how by watching an instructional video with tips ahead of taking an IQ test, candidates scored 18 points higher than those who didn't watch it. 

The video itself doesn't add IQ points or intelligence to those who watch it, it merely better prepared the watchers for the upcoming test, as per New Scientist's report.

The reason this study is so pertinent is that these IQ tests are meant to be a method of objectively measuring someone's intelligence. But if watching a video boosts people's test scores, it's not so objective anymore. 

The scientists carried out the study on 341 students. Half of the students were shown the video before taking the test, while the other half delved right into it without any extra tips or tricks beforehand.

The half who watched the video scored up to 18 points higher than the half who didn't see it. 

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Think of it as reading almost all the necessary information ahead of taking a test. 


So how to get around such an issue? 

Stuart Ritchie, a researcher at King's College London who was not part of the study, told New Scientist that offering pre-test information and instructions to everyone could be one possible solution. That way everyone partaking in the IQ test would have the same boost. 

However, if the whole point of the IQ testing system is to gauge someone's intelligence, why offer them the boost in the first place? Moreover, why bother taking these types of tests at all given their well-known inaccuracies and failings?  

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