Type, IQ, and School Grades

IQ = Type?

Are some types smarter than other types?

I'm glad you asked, because there's a lot of misinformation out there. 

So, let's review some facts.

  • Intuitives focus on potential and prefer to deal with abstract concepts, symbols, and ideas.  Sensors focus on what already exists and prefer to deal with concrete realities, examples, and facts. 
  • IQ tests measure one's ability to deal with abstract concepts, symbols, and ideas. 

Hm, interesting.  Wonder what effect this will have on IQ scores?  Let's keep going and find out. 

  • Introverts like to process ideas silently, alone, and in their heads.  Extraverts like to process things aloud and bounce their ideas off of other people. 
  • IQ tests are taken silently, alone, inside one's head.

Okay, some (whiny) Extraverts might find this to be a bit...unfair, but heck, let's keep going.  I'm sure it won't have any effect in the big picture. 

  • Perceivers are better at adapting to the new and unexpected, while Judgers are better at getting the most out of the predictable and established. 
  • There is also a slight correlation between Sensing and Judging, i.e. people who are Sensors are more likely to favor Judging than Perceiving.  Also, Judgers are more likely to favor Sensing than Intuition.  (See the first set of bullet points.)
  • IQ tests measure one's ability to solve new, never-before-seen problems. 

Now it's down to the INTP vs. the INFP.  Which type is more favored to succeed on an IQ test? 

  • Rationals: the knowledge-seeking personality that solves problems for fun.  Idealists: the self-seeking personality that seeks to make the world a better place.
  • IQ tests measure problem-solving ability. 

So, based on type alone, what would we expect to be the type that would score highest on an IQ test?

We've narrowed it down: All types > All Intuitives > All Intuitive Introverts > All Intuitive Perceiving Introverts > All Intuitive Rational Perceiving Introverts.  But if IQ tests aren't biased by type, than we shouldn't expect to see this sort of obvious sorting.  So here it is, the biggy: do aptitude tests measure type or do they really measure smartness?

Yes, INTPs do consistently score highest on aptitude tests.  Next up are the INTJs, INFPs, and INFJs.  All Intuitive types are favored over all Sensing types.  Introverts are favored over Extraverts.  Perceivers are favored over Judgers. 

So let's say that I'm skeptical of the whole IQ test thing.  Yet it cannot be denied that there are some people who are smarter than others.  The problem then is, how can I measure IQ without introducing type effects and giving some types an unfair advantage over others? 

Well, suppose that you decided to give all ENTJs (say) an IQ test, then measured the ENTJs against each other.  But here again we must be cautious, because some ENTJs will be more ENTJ than others.  An ENTJ whose N is allllllmost an S will be at a disadvantage compared to an ENTJ with a very clear N.  So what we actually want is to get a sample of "perfectly average" ENTJs which are exactly 75% E, 75% N, 75% T, and 75% J.  We will give these identical ENTJs each an identical IQ test, compare them with each other, and see where they fall. 

Now we are no longer measuring type...mostly.  (It may be that some ENTJs have had more experience in practicing I, N, T, or P skills than others due to previous occupations, parental types, or choice of majors.)  So what are we measuring now?  Is it IQ? 

Perhaps.  At least our test isn't as blatantly biased as the original IQ test setup we had. 

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the smartest type of all?  Well, it all depends on how you define intelligence, doesn't it?  If you want to go with out culture's stereotypical idea of genius--i.e. Einstein--then yes, IQ tests are accurate.  The absent-minded genius who scribbles math problems is an INTP.  So if we judge solely by conventional, cultural definitions, then INTPs are the smartest type.  But then what do we do about people like Mozart, the Artisan child progidy with an IQ through the roof?  He didn't scribble math, he scribbled music.  And he was one of the best instrumentalists of his time. 

Genius in one type looks very different from genius in another type.  Idealist with an IQs through the roof are great at writing, math, languages...but they're frightenly good at literature/poetry.  Their type causes them to excel in that one particular niche better than others.  By the same token, a Rational genius may be average at literature/poetry, but mind-blowingly amazing at math.  Type tends to determine how genius is most strongly expressed--and what IQ tests measure is mostly the INTP form of genius.

Well, we've beaten that horse to death.  Let's bury the poor creature and instead discuss how type and the grades you get are related.

Grades: Do they Measure Natural Intelligence, Hard work, Motivation, or Type?

As with type and intelligence, there are many interesting aspects to consider.  Let's start with this proven premise:

  • Each type has their own best-fit learning style.  Furthermore, studies find that people prefer to be taught by others who are mostly--but not completely--like them.

So logically, each type would be expected to flower in an environment where they are taught by their own kind (or something close). 

  • But 80% of elementary school teachers are ESFJs.
  • And 80% of high school teachers are SJs.
  • And most university professors are INs.

Getting through the school system is an experience for type development, to put it mildly. 

There is also that fact that grades are not purely a measurement of scholastic ability.  They directly measure what type you are.

  • Class participation points.  Because Extraverts deserve better grades than Introverts.
  • Turning in an assignment late should be penalized by getting a lower letter grade on that assignment.  Because punctuality is a measure of quality, say the Judgers.  
  • Failing to turn up for class on time should be penalized by receiving a lower grade.  Because punctuality is a measure of scholastic ability, say the Judgers. 

There are various schemes for lowering a student's grade based on how late they turn an assignment in.  Often teachers drop a student's grade by one letter for each day the assignment is overdue. For example, a Judger may turn in work on time that gets an A, while a Perceiver may turn in work of the same quality a day later, and get a B.  Same quality work.  Different grade.  But suppose that instead of punishing tardiness by lowering a student's grade, teachers instead made students spend their lunch breaks in the classroom, working problems?  There is no particular reason for punishing tardiness with poor grades; other methods could certainly be used.  There is a built in penalty against Perceivers in the school system.  In learning environments without deadlines, i.e. home school, Perceivers do not get penalized in this manner. 

But these are only some of the most direct type-based effects. 

Suppose you a saltwater fish and a freshwater fish, and you throw them both into a freshwater tank.  The saltwater fish dies while the freshwater fish swims happily around.  What can this tell us about type and school?

Suppose you have an SP and an SJ, and you throw them both into an elementary school.  The SP gets lousy grades while the SJ excels. 

Does this prove that SPs are lazy/dumb?  Does this prove that SJs are hard-working/smart?  Or does it merely prove that saltwater fish die in freshwater? 

Well, let's see.  STs and SPs hate school...yet they are overrepresented as participants in the Academic Decathlon, a national scholastic contest which is pretty much the domain of INTPs.  Huh?  What are those lazy jocks doing in an academic competition for school nerds?  Well, as it turns out, STs and SPs love competitions.  The Academic Decathlon is fiercely competitive.  Unexpectedly, the contest environment provides a preferred learning environment for certain types of SPs, and these saltwater fish swim very happily in their salty water. 

Suppose that instead of taking tests you had to win tests?  What would happen with the SPs then? 

  • In a study of type and leisure activities, it turned out that most Rationals consider "taking classes" as a leisure pursuit.  In fact, the INTJs liked taking classes more than any type liked any leisure activity.  (What madness is this?  It is the madness of the type that gets the best grades of all.)
  • In ESFJ Elementary, the type that has the easiest time of it is the ESFJ. 
  • In Guardian High, the temperament that has it easiest is the SJs. 
  • In the Intuitiversity, the INs have it easy. 

Note that at no point do the SPs get a learning environment tailored completely to their needs.  Sorry guys, you're just going to have to get by. 

There's also the interesting effect that some types of teachers are stricter than others.  ENFP teachers are the least likely to view student behaviors as problematic.  ISTJ teachers are the most likely to view student behavior as problematic.

The NTs