For most of human history, we had only words to describe human intelligence — bright, dim, genius, fool.
But in the last century, we've had numbers — IQ numbers as in "intelligence quotient." IQ testing made intelligence seem measurable, and humans sortable by the numbers. And sort them we have, into schools and sterilization, and even death camps.
Today, our understanding of intelligence has expanded. But we're still taking IQ tests. Stephen Murdoch says today it's a failed idea.
This hour On Point: the fascinating history of our long romance with IQ.
Stephen Murdoch, author of "IQ: A Smart History of a Failed Idea"
Angela Lee Duckworth, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania
This program aired on June 21, 2007.