Did you know? 5 Quick facts about IQ

IQ testing reveals information about a person's intelligence. A lot of items (such as spatial awareness and cognitive flexibility) factor into the exam. Though you may not need to know your IQ or your child's score, the information is nice to have – for instance, it could help ensure your child gets in the right programs at school. Before you further consider intelligence quotient, take a look at these quick facts about the test:

1. The first IQ test was designed for kids
The French government asked Alfred Binet to create a way to assess the intelligence of school children. Binet partnered with Theodore Simon to develop what became the Binet-Simon scale. It helped the government figure out which students would need special help in school. They published the first version in 1905.

2. 'Intelligence quotient' wasn't used until 1912
In that year, German psychologist William Stern created a way to score the Binet-Simon children's IQ scale. He called it "intelligenz quotient." A quotient scoring system works by dividing one number by another. In the case of Stern's method, a child's chronological age was divided by his or her mental age, and the resulting number was multiplied by 100. E.g., a 12 year old who performed at the level of an 8 year old would have the following equation: 12/8 x 100.

3. Intelligence isn't static
Your IQ develops over time and can increase. Activities like learning new information, playing instruments and exercising all have the ability to boost brain power. Kids' IQ shows the most dramatic shift over time because they expand their knowledge in school every year.

4. Some things decrease IQ
Just as you can improve IQ, you can also decrease it. Studies have shown that exposure to certain chemicals during pregnancy can cause the unborn child to develop a lower IQ later in life. Additionally, high alcohol consumption may lower IQ. 

5. Society is getting smarter
Psychologist James Flynn began noticing in the 1980s that society's average IQ was increasing. What was average in the past became a low score for modern people. This shift was difficult to notice, as IQ tests are scored by using a median number with no meaning. An average IQ is measured at 100, and deviations are measured from there. Now when we compare IQs of someone living in the past to a person's intelligence now, we have to account for the shift, known as the Flynn Effect. 

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