The origin of the IQ Test


Mankind has always been on a mission to better itself in whatever field or endeavor it sought out
to accomplish. In doing so, our race came upon the need to quantify and differentiate. This is ever
more valid for the human intelligence.

Pinpointing the birthdate of the IQ Test is, more often than not, an arduous journey that can vary
from author to author. In the early 19th century, Paul Broca and Sir Francis Galton were two of the
first academics who pondered on the importance of measuring intelligence under what we now
know is the wrong assumption that intellectual prowess is directly linked to the size of the human
skull – the bigger your head, the smarter you are. Around the same period, Wilhelm Wundt
suggested that mankind’s innate capacity to process thoughts was the real method of measuring
one’s intelligence. In today’s day and age, it is fair to say that both these lines of thinking are no
longer relevant, but were in fact the predecessors of what is now called the modern IQ Test.
At the beginning of the 1900s, two French psychologists by the names of Alfred Binet and Theodore
Simon were solicited by the Ministry of Education to create a test that would assist in distinguishing
between children who suffer from any form of mental impedance and those who did not have any
disorders but were what we normally refer to as “lazy”. It is important to provide the historical
context that led to the need for this test: a recent law had been passed making it mandatory for
children to attend school, thus the need to devise a way of branding a child’s needs based on their
intellectual capacity.

Binet and Simon’s initial approach was to formulate questions founded on subjects that are not
commonly trained at school such as focus, memory and problem-solving skills. The goal of this
process was to regulate and ultimately predict the overall success of the child at an academic level.
Once Binet started processing the data he had obtained, it came to his attention that physical age
was not a defining factor when it came to correctly answering the questions – some potential
scholars were better at answering more complex questions when compared with older children.
The opposite was also valid. Intrigued by this prospect, Binet then came to suggest the idea of
mental age, this being the measurement of intelligence based on a child’s average ability within a
specific age group.

After obtaining and analyzing a significant amount of data, the first intelligence test was born under
the name Binet-Simon Scale. This innovative method became the foundation of the intelligence
tests that are still carried out during our times. This is not to say that Binet, the test’s creator, didn’t
find some flaws in its effectiveness: it is not reasonable that a person’s level of intelligence be
labelled based solely on a standardized test. Binet emphasized that several intellectual factors need
to be considered and that an ideal result would only be possible when comparing subjects with
similar upbringings. The initial use of the term IQ dates back to 1912 when William Stern, a German
psychologist, entertained the idea of an intelligence quotient, based on the works of Binet.
Despite its limitations, the Binet-Simon Scale was a remarkable milestone in quantifying the human
psyche and quickly found a place for itself within the United States where it was first used by Lewis
Termin, a Stanford University psychologist, who applied the test to a sample of American applicants.
This evolution of the initial test was published in 1916 as the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale and
remains the standard intelligence test used in the country to this day. The result of this test, also
known as the IQ or Intelligence Quotient score is calculated by dividing the test taker’s mental age
by their chronological age and then multiplying this number by 100. For instance, considering a child
with a mental age of 15 and a chronological age of 12, their IQ would be 125 (15 ÷ 12 x 100).
The IQ Test’s first massive trial by fire happened during World War I where 2 million recruits were
asked to undergo this examination with the intent of allocating soldiers to certain roles and
leadership positions. In 1917 two tests were developed by Robert Yerkes, the then chair of the
Committee on the Psychological Examination of Recruits – the Alpha and Beta tests. The Alpha test
was planned as a written test, while the Beta test was comprised of images oriented at soldiers who
could not read and/or speak English. Despite the end of the war, these tests remained prominent in
everyday life. As an example, they were used as a selection process for new immigrants intending
to enter the United States. The massive use of this test did however lead to wrong preconceptions
about specific nationalities which, in its place, led to restrictions related to human influx.
Unhappy with the restrictions of the Stanford-Binet scale, American psychologist David Wechsler
issued a new intelligence test, acknowledged as the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS), in
1955. Much like Binet, Wechsler thought that intelligence involved different mental abilities.
Wechsler also established two different tests explicitly oriented to children: the Wechsler
Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) and the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence
(WPPSI). The adult equivalent of the test has undergone intense revisions since its maiden version
and is currently known as the WAIS-IV.

The WAIS-IV covers ten subtests as well as five complementary tests. The test covers four key areas
of intelligence: verbal understanding, perceptual reasoning, memory and processing speed. Instead
of utilizing a chronological and mental age premise, the WAIS score is obtained by associating the
subject’s score with individuals in the same age group. This scoring method has become the
standard technique in intelligence testing and is also used in the modern revision of the StanfordBinet test.
As is valid for all forms of human experience, quantifying one’s intelligence is not a simple process
and, as has been mentioned, suffered several updates throughout the decades. What is true though
is that we can rest assured that great minds are constantly studying and perfecting what we know
about the mystery that still is the human mind.

Top 10 Brain Training Apps


Performance is the main reason for pressure and stress in today’s high-paced world. We are
constantly on the spotlight when it comes to getting whichever task done as quickly and efficiently
as possible that we often forget to take care of ourselves. We are always on the clock and this takes
a huge toll on our overall health and energy levels.
This is not something you should worry too much about though. There is no need to think you are
going crazy, let alone to start knocking on your friendly neighborhood therapist’s door. All you need
is a little motivation. The following list will run you through 10 great apps to help you keep the juices
flowing and your mental health as sharp as ever.

1. Lumosity
Lumosity is one of the most respected, well known and consolidated brain training and mental
fitness programs in the market today. What makes Lumosity stand out is its games that mostly focus
on improving one’s memory and problem-solving skills while also working on your attention span.
You can either play the game directly on their website or through their free apps for either iOS or
Android. Lumosity also provides a meditation and mindfulness app called Lumosity Mind. As an
interesting sidenote, studies performed on children with cancer-related brain injuries have shown
developments in memory and executive function after undergoing Lumosity-like brain training.

2. Sudoku
There is nothing wrong with going with a golden oldie and pen and paper favorite like Sudoku. With
no need for fancy graphics nor flashy animations, Sudoku is one of those puzzle games that will get
your brain focused for hours. Sudoku hasn’t lost any of its appeal and it isn’t hard to find a huge
variety of apps to choose from with a countless supply of variations to go with it. Not only does
Sudoku provide brain training, as it relies on short-term memory, it is also a great way of passing
the time and provides you with that added ego-boost every time you complete a puzzle!

3. CogniFit Brain Fitness
Created with the priceless contribution of neuroscientists, this entertaining app is aimed at
improving a user’s levels of memory and concentration. Apart from being able to track your progress
as you go, you can also challenge your friends in an ever-satisfying battle of the brains! What is really
appealing about the app is that it adjusts the difficulty level based on your overall performance and
results. CogniFit Brain Fitness isn’t time consuming and you will start seeing results with a few 20-
to-30-minute sessions per week.

4. Eidetic
Eidetic is a memory enhancement app that uses the repetition technique to aid users in memorizing
important information such as phone numbers, credit card details, passwords or even specific
words. Apart from this Eidetic also notifies you when it is test time, in an attempt to help you retain
information in your long-term memory. Eidetic is a very interesting app for older adults, particularly
those who are beginning to notice memory lapses. Apart from being free, this app is very userfriendly.

5. Braingle
Braingle prides itself in having the largest collection of brain teasers available with over 15,000
puzzles and games. Different from other apps, that focus on memory and reaction-based tests,
Braingle’s approach to help maintain brain sharpness is through the use of riddles, codes and
ciphers, trivia quizzes and optical illusions. You can even play against your friends and family which
adds a lot of interactivity to this already unique product.

6. Personal Zen
Personal Zen’s goal is to reduce stress and increase the user’s well-being. According to the creators,
a 5–10-minute use may improve well-being while a continuous interaction of up to 40 minutes per
week may assist in significantly reducing your stress level. Another very important aspect of this app
is that it trains the brain to focus on positive aspects and provides strategies on keeping out
negativity that can have an unpleasant impact on your mental capabilities.

7. Elevate
Alongside Lumosity, Elevate is widely considered as one of the top 2 brain training apps today. With
over 35 games that track five different types of mental development, it is easy to see why Elevate is
an app to consider. Elevate pays special attention to reading, writing, speaking and math apart from
allowing you to customize your training and focus on whichever subjects you would prefer to pay
more attention to. As with most other brain games, you can track your progress to see how your
skills are improving. The app is free for both iOS and Android.

8. Peak
Peak is an iOS and Android oriented app that looks gorgeous with its very visually pleasing design,
game layout and highly intuitive flow. Peak delivers brain games to work on focus, memory,
problem-solving, mental agility as well as other cognitive functions. Its competitive side is also a plus
as you can challenge other users and are able to compare your progress with Peak’s ever-growing
community. Should you have an Apple Watch, you can seamlessly integrate the app with it. Peak is
free to use and offers a subscription model should you be interested in trying some of its more
advanced features.

9. Crosswords
Alongside Sudoku, Crosswords are a classic brain trainer that combines not only verbal language but
also memory. This is possibly the most recognized form of brain training and surely the one we all
grew up doing, be it printed in the last pages of newspapers, magazines or in dedicated exercise
books. Crossword puzzles are easily found online via free or very cheap apps.

10. Happy Neuron
Happy Neuron splits its games and activities into five important brain areas: memory, attention,
language, executive functions, and visual/spatial, all based on scientific research. As is the case with
other renowned brain training apps, it tailors the training to your personal needs and tracks your
progress. Happy Neuron offers a free trial so you can test their product before purchasing it. The
monthly subscription is well worthwhile, allowing you to access its full content via their site and/or
Android app.

How to Keep your Mind Sharp


Our body is a wonderful piece of art and, like all forms of complex chemical and mechanical
matter, we need to understand it in order to better take care of it. The most mysterious and
intriguing of these is our brain. It holds countless secrets that science is yet to find answers to
and, as with all muscles, it needs to be exercised in order to fully function. Here are a few tips
and tricks to keep your brain in ideal condition regardless of the effects of aging.

Get Physical Exercise

Body and Mind are connected in more ways than we can imagine. The way you treat your
physical side is going to undeniably reflect itself on your mind. Make sure that you stay physically
active, even if you can only make time for a simple walk. Numerous studies have shown that the
slightest form of motion can go a long way into improving both memory and cognitive skills. At
an anatomical level, the impact caused by your foot when walking causes pressure waves
through the arteries which increases blood flow. Sports that are proven to be optimal sources
of brain health are:

  • Team sports such as basketball or football
  • Cycling
  • Yoga or Tai Chi
  • Aerobic or gym exercise
  • Walking
  • Running or jogging
  • Water sports

Maintain a Healthy Diet

Food is the fuel that keeps us running as human beings so maintaining a close eye on what we
consume is extremely important. Our brain is particularly fond of nuts, fish and even red wine;
however, these products are also known to give our mind an extra boost:

  • Salmon – a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Green Tea – rich in polyphenols and antioxidants, it not only improves alertness and
    focus, but is also known to reduce the risk of serious diseases such as Alzheimer or
  • Eggs – packed with essential nutrients such as B6, B12, folate and choline, all elements
    that help regulate both our memory and our general mood
  • Blueberries – the antioxidants they contain aid in improving the communication
    between brain cells, delay short-term memory loss and also reduce inflammation.

Work on your posture

It might sound like a cliché that your parents, teachers and even television has been feeding you
throughout the years, but the truth is that having good posture plays a beneficial role on your
wellbeing. Studies show that keeping an upright posture does improve the circulation and blood
flow to the brain. Here are three simple tips to make sure you’re in the right direction:

  • Sleep with an aligned spine – resting on your back or on the side is known to generate
    less stress on your spine. When sleeping on your back, gravity makes sure that your body
    is centered on your spine. Should you sleep on your side, try to point your chin straight
  • Balance- exercising your overall body balance will not only avoid occasional tripping and
    falling, but it also benefits your spine. More relaxing activities such as Yoga or Tai Chi are
    very beneficial in this regard.
  • Weigh healthy – Being over or underweight adds stress to your muscles and ultimately
    makes you more inclined to adopt a wrong body posture

Sleep as much as you can

This is a tricky one and will clearly vary from person to person. Not getting enough sleep can
deeply impact your overall state of mind and lead to severe problems related to memory,
concentration, as well as cognitive functions. It is during our snooze time that newly acquired
skills and memories are processed by our brains creating a permanent imprint. As a rule of
thumb, adults above 65 should attempt to get 7-8 hours sleep, while those aged 26 to 64 should
aim at 7-9 hours. Here are some suggestions on how to make the most of our bedtime:

  • Consistency – try to go to bed and wake up at the same time on a routine basis.
    Repetition is key to a healthy rest.
  • Light dinners – having very large meals can lead to longer digestive periods which can
    both be harmful to your stomach and deprive you from sleep. Try to keep your evening
    food consumption to small snacks such as nuts or fruit.
  • Cut on stimulants – Coffee, Chocolates, Cola or Cigarettes should be highly avoided
    between four to six hours prior to going to bed. Alcohol should also be limited as it
    disrupts both REM and slow-wave sleep, both essential to a healthy memory.

Never Stop Learning

Not only is the unknown exciting, but it also stimulates the brain. Studies have shown that
reading and writing on a regular basis, for instance, helps reduce memory loss at a later stage in
life by 32%. Playing a musical instrument is also a beneficial way of engaging your memory and
so is learning a foreign language as it improves cognitive functioning in older adults as well as
helps strengthen your decision making, believe it or not. Having a hobby also increases your
notion of self-esteem and self-worth which in itself can do wonders for the mind. Simply think
about something that interests you and go for it. A few ideas to start things off:

  • Carpentry
  • Gardening
  • Cooking
  • Photography
  • Fishing
  • Painting
  • Swimming

Don’t over-use your brain

It is important to remember that we are not machines, meaning that we have the luxury of not
having all the answers at all times. Save your mental energy by choosing what needs to be
remembered and what doesn’t. Use calendars, planners, shopping lists or address books instead
of wasting away mental power that could be used for other, more significant, tasks. Not having
to worry about too many details will help you focus better and free up your memory.
These are but a few tips and tricks that will get you on your way to programming your brain to
better aid you in day-to-day tasks. Keep in mind that aging is part of life, but we have the power
to take care of ourselves and make sure that our journey on Earth is an amazing one from day

The Smartest People You Have Never Heard of


Trying to come up with a list of the smartest people who ever stepped foot on the planet is
anything but an easy task to accomplish. Intelligence is highly subjective and so are the skills that
define someone as smart. Being intelligent is one thing, using that intelligence to in some way
advance humanity, is something entirely different. At an IQ level, anything above 140 is generally
considered near genius. Nonetheless, here is a list of some of the brainiest unsung humans who
ever lived.

William Sidis


William James Sidis was an American child prodigy said to have an IQ between 250 and 300,
possibly the highest score ever. Apart from his above-average math skills, which allowed William
to join Harvard at the age of 11, he also spoke 40 languages. Sadly, William did not live up to
expectations and matured into an average human being, landing mediocre jobs and getting into
trouble with the law on several occasions.


Judit Polgár

Judit Polgár
With an IQ of 170, Judit Polgár was a Hungarian chess player who is widely considered to be the
best female chess player of all time. At the age of 15 years and 4 months, Polgár won the title of
Grandmaster, at the time the youngest to have done so. She is also the youngest person to ever
break into the FIDE top 100 players rating list. She was the top-rated woman in the world from
January 1989 until her retirement on 13 August 2014.


Philip Emeagwali

Philip Emeagwali is a Nigerian computer scientist who won the 1989 Gordon Bell Prize for priceperformance in high-performance computing applications, by using an innovative mathematical
formula and applying it in an oil reservoir modeling calculation. With an IQ of 190, Philip was
voted as the greatest African scientist of all time. As an interesting sidenote, his math work is
often considered as being influential in the construction of the internet.


Srinivasa Ramanujan

Srinivasa Ramanujan was an Indian mathematician who made significant contributions to
analysis, number theory, infinite series and continued fractions, together with solutions to
mathematical problems then deemed unknowable. Ramanujan, who had almost no proper
training in mathematics, initially developed his own research in isolation. His estimated IQ was


Hypatia of Alexandria

Hypatia was a Greek astronomer, philosopher and mathematician who lived in Egypt, then part
of the Eastern Roman Empire. Although heralded by Pandrosion, another Alexandrine female
mathematician, she is the first female mathematician whose life is reasonably well recorded.
With an estimated IQ of 170-190, she was brutally murdered by a group of Christian fanatics
after being accused of witchcraft.


Gottfried Leibniz

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was a renowned German polymath and one of the most significant
logicians, mathematicians and natural philosophers of the Enlightenment and is best known for
inventing calculus. In philosophy, Leibniz is most illustrious for his optimism – his conclusion that
our universe is, in a limited sense, the best possible one that God could have created. Leibniz’s
IQ estimates range from 182 to 205.


Andrew Wiles

Sir Andrew John Wiles is an English mathematician and a Royal Society Research Professor at
the University of Oxford, specialized in number theory. In 1995, Wiles verified a 358-year-old
mathematical theory called Fermat’s Last Theorem, which until then was registered in the
Guinness Book of World Records as the “most difficult math problem” in the world. He was
appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2000. Sir Andrew Wiles is
said to have an IQ of 170.


Emanuel Swedenborg

Emanuel Swedenborg was a Swedish theologian, scientist, philosopher and mystic. He is best
known for his book on the afterlife, Heaven and Hell. In 1741 he began to experience dreams
and visions which concluded in a “spiritual arising” in which he received a revelation that he was
appointed by Jesus Christ to write The Heavenly Doctrine to reform Christianity.


Christopher Hirata

Christopher Hirata is an American cosmologist and astrophysicist who was hired by NASA at the
age of 16 to do some research on the colonization of Mars. Christopher was only 13 when this
child prodigy won the gold medal in 1996 at the International Physics Olympiad. He also received
his PhD under the supervision of Uroš Seljak in 2005 from Princeton University in Astrophysics.


Kim Ung-Yong

Kim Ung-Yong is a South Korean professor and former child prodigy said to hold the highest IQ
score (210) according to the Guinness World Records. At the age of one, Kim had learned both
the Korean alphabet and 1,000 Chinese characters by studying the Thousand Character Classic,
a 6th-century Chinese poem. At three years old, he began to solve calculus problems. At 5, Kim
had acquired astonishing linguistic skills and could speak Korean, English, French, German and


Ainan Cawley

Ainan Celeste Cawley is a Singaporean boy prodigy who, according to his parents, had said his
first word when he was two weeks old, could walk at six months of age and build difficult
sentences by his first birthday. Cawley gave his first public speech at the age of six and at seven
years and one month of age, he had passed the GCSE chemistry and studied chemistry at the
Singapore Polytechnic a year later. At the age of 9, he was able to recite pi to 518 decimal places
and could remember the periodic table.


Christopher Langan

Christopher Michael Langan is an American autodidact who is considered an intellectual prodigy.
ABC’s 20/20 estimated that Langan’s IQ is anywhere between 195 and 210 dubbing him what
most journalists consider as the smartest man in America. Growing up, Christopher Langan
quickly showed above-average skills: he could speak at six months of age, read by his third
birthday and even question the existence of God by age five. He obtained a perfect score on his
SAT, despite having fallen asleep during the test. He is an avid learner, regardless of the subject,
and can study math, languages and philosophy for long periods of time each day.