04 March 2007

IQ test: Pick the odd one out

An IQ test is a set of problems, usually including items from different domains such as short-term memory, spatial visualisation, perceptual speed and verbal knowledge, designed and used to measure intelligence. So many different forms of IQ tests have been designed and revised since 1905 when a French psychologist, Alfred Binet, together with his colleague Theodore Simon, devised the first intelligence test, the Binet-Simon intelligence scale, in modern times.

There is always criticism that IQ tests may be biased, especially when the same set of questions are used on people from different cultures or of different races.

I'm not particularly interested in seeking evidence produced by any academic research regarding the validity of IQ testing. I still remembered my IQ was 62 according to a test in 1990 and 135 according to another test in 1997. I don't think I could make such progress in seven years' time and thus never believe this issue is worth exploring.

However, if my memory serves me, it seems that there are always 'pick-the-odd-one-out' questions in whatever form of IQ tests. From the following examples, you will understand why these tests are so biased.

Pick the odd one out:
  1. Asphalt, delight, leave and uncle
  2. Sun, moon, earth and lemon
  3. Da Vinci, Einstein, Kennedy and Marco Polo
And the answers:
  1. Asphalt, because it is the only one that cannot form an idiom with a national adjective. (You can have Turkish delight, French leave and Dutch uncle, but can you have XXX asphalt?)
  2. Earth, because when you were a wee boy or girl you usually coloured sun, moon and lemon 'yellow' with your crayon. (Earth is usually coloured blue or sometimes green.)
  3. Einstein, because he is the only one who doesn't have an airport named after him. (Da Vinci serves Rome, JFK serves New York and Marco Polo serves Venice.)
Bloody heck, are we supposed to know these when doing an IQ test if
  1. we've never heard any of these three English idioms?
  2. we've never done any colouring with crayons in childhood?
  3. we've never visited Rome, New York or Venice?


Anonymous said...

In the other hand, if we are to choose one word from
it can be uncle..

Words asphalt, delight and leave can be used as nouns as well as verbs, but word uncle is always noun..


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Anonymous said...

Uncle can be used as a verb. If you are wrestling with someone and they have you in a painful hold, usually one would say "uncle" meaning "OK, stop, I give up".

Anonymous said...

leave, because asphalt, delight, and uncle all contain 2 vowels, leave has 3. You sometimes have to think outside the box.

Anonymous said...

Also, regarding sun, moon, earth and lemon....... Sun, moon and earth are heavenly bodies, while a lemon would be the odd one out as it is not. Every problem can have a myriad of solutions depending on how one sees it.

Debora S. said...

Why not the most obvious one, that has no bearing on your cultural literacy? Asphalt, because it is the only word in the list not containing an "e". (Sometimes over-thinking hurts.)

Montreal Meany said...

The first of the three odd-one-out questions was asked in the Columbo episode "Bye-bye Sky High IQ Murder Case". I guessed asphalt on the basis that the other words can be altered by adding letters in front (carbuncle, cleave, sidelight). It's true there is "glasphalt", but that isn't the standard spelling, and even if the stuff had been introduced by 1977, it probably wasn't around at the time that question was conceived.

Unknown said...

sun.. because moon hearth and lemon reflect the light while the sun produce his own light

Unknown said...

how about sun moon and lemon end in an n and earth does not
Marco Polo is odd one out because its a first and last name and the others aren't

Anonymous said...

Da Vinci was not a last name...it was only where Leonardo was from....