Human Brain Essay: Culture Bias in Intelligence Testing

Intelligence Testing Bias

The human brain is a fascinating phenomenon in our world today. Scientists and researchers have tried to understand how the human brain works. In this respect, psychological scientists have clearly determined that people are different and there is a difference in how their brains work. This difference is also due to the environmental dissimilarities within each human being finds him or herself.  For this reason, researchers and psychological scientists came up with a technique to measure the level of intelligence of an individual.

IQ Formula on Intelligence Testing

A well known German Psychologist William Stern came up with the concept of intelligence quotient in the year 1912. This refers to the standardized unit of level of human intelligence. IQ, which is the abbreviation of the mentioned unit, entails the quotient of an individual’s mental age and chronological age multiplied by a constant of 100 (King, 2014). This formula holds that if an individual’s mental age and chronological age are the same then the IQ is 100 hence average. If the mental age is above the chronological one then, the IQ is above 100, above average. When the vice versa is true then the IQ is less than 100, below average.

Culturally Bias in Intelligence Testing

However, there is reason to believe that tests carried out to determine the level of human intelligence are culturally biased. They favoured people from urban areas rather than rural areas or of middle socioeconomic status rather than low status or of non-Latino white rather than African American races. A good instance of one of the questions used in the intelligence tests that proved to be culturally bias is one that asked what one should do if he or she found a baby in the street. The correct answer for the question would be to call the police. However these tests did not consider the environment variability of individuals.

For example, if an individual was living in an area where police were dreaded that answer would be definitely out context. If the same individual was living in a rural environment where the police services were rather unreachable, the person would more than likely pick a different answer. It is apparent that these tests used to measure the level of intelligence of individuals were not standardized to determine who is more intelligent than the other.

King gives an example of an individual, Gregory Ochoa who sat for an IQ test and failed since he did not speak English very well and did not understand most of the questions which were all set in English. The test given to Gregory was rather a bias test. They did not take into consideration of the unfortunate nature that Gregory did not speak English very well. Such a test for that reason was not conclusive enough to determine Gregory’s level of intelligence (King, 2014).

What people should understand is that the concept of intelligence is a wide ideology. An individual can be intelligent in many different things for instance, drawing, singing, playing a sport, computer hacking and so on. In this respect, it becomes impossible to produce culture-fair tests as a medium to determine the level of intelligence of an individual. Robert Sternberg concludes that there can be no culture-fair tests but only culture-reduced tests. (Sternberg, 2012)