IQ Test - a More Accurate Method

First placed on the Internet in September 2009.

I was recetly insulted by the woman who is the President of the American Mensa Society. Ever since the idea of intelligence testing arose around a hundred years ago, the methods which existed to accomplish it have always had many huge sources of error. Yes, IN GENERAL, the IQ numbers are fairly close. But there have been countless notable examples where the numbers have been vastly wrong!

Early on, people who had attended school could do fairly well while illiterate people couldn't even understand the questions! Later, many biases were discovered in the types of questions which caused many minority groups to consistently do poorly.

Even now, the supposedly advanced versions of such testing, now available in hundreds of languages to try to reduce biases, still cause many errors in this evaluation.

I have an approach that seems far better!

This arose due to my having learned that around 60% of all body heat loss is through the head. (It is a common argument for wearing a cap or hat!) Part of that is due to the rest of the body being covered with clothing, but even on the beach, the head can regularly become overheated. The question for me was WHY?

Well, the brain is inside the head, and we certainly realize that the brain's operation is crucial to life. For the brain to operate, it needs a good supply of blood.

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I make the assumption that if MORE brain activity is occurring, then the body will automatically supply a larger supply of blood.

This blood leaves the heart area at around 98.6°F. The skin temperature of the head is much lower, meaning that the head must necessarily be radiating heat to the room.

IF the rate of blood flow is proportional to the rate of mental activity of the brain (which would need to be confirmed experimentally) then this presents an interesting possibility!

Imagine having a small (insulated) box around the head, with provision for nose and mouth breathing. This method is called a Calorimeter Room or Calorimeter Chamber.

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The temperature of the air inside that box is constantly monitored and circulated, and a heat exchanger is in that circulation path. Whatever heat is extracted by the heat exchanger is accurately measured, while the temperature inside the box is maintained at a constant value. The result of this is that the measurements of the heat removed by the heat exchanger identifies exactly how much heat the head had given off to the air in the Calorimeter Chamber.

My premise is that the readings of that heat given off will be far more accurate evidence of how much brain activity is occurring in the brain. I.e., the amount of thinking, or the IQ of the individual AT THAT MOMENT!

So this method would seem to even be able to show the amount of mental activity UNDER DIFFERENT CIRCUMSTANCES. HAVE the person solving difficult math problems! Measure. Have them meditate. Measure. See the point?

This method would NOT require that a testee can even read or know any language. And it would seem to not have any biases toward or against any minorities, unless, say, it was discovered that black skin or yellow skin radiates heat at a different rate than white skin does.


This presentation was first placed on the Internet in September 2009.

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C Johnson, Theoretical Physicist, Physics Degree from Univ of Chicago