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The g factor (short for "general factor") is a construct developed in psychometric investigations of cognitive abilities. It is a variable that summarizes positive correlations among different cognitive tasks, reflecting the fact that an individual's performance at one type of cognitive task tends to be comparable to his or her performance at other kinds of cognitive tasks. The g factor typically accounts for 40 to 50 percent of the between-individual variance in IQ test performance, and IQ scores are frequently regarded as estimates of individuals' standing on the g factor. The terms IQ, general intelligence, general cognitive ability, general mental ability, or simply intelligence are often used interchangeably to refer to the common core shared by cognitive tests.



Many modern intelligence tests measure some of the cognitive factors that are thought to make up general intelligence. Such tests propose that intelligence can be measured and expressed by a single number, such as an IQ score. Most intelligence tests aims to measure the g factor.


What do IQ test scores mean?

While scoring systems vary, the average score on many is 100 and the following labels are often used for different scoring ranges:

  • 40 - 54: Moderately impaired or delayed
  • 55 - 69: Mildly impaired or delayed
  • 70 - 79: Borderline impaired or delayed
  • 80 - 89: Low average intelligence
  • 90 - 109: Average
  • 110 - 119: High average
  • 120 - 129: Superior
  • 130 - 144: Gifted or very advanced
  • 145 - 160: Exceptionally gifted or highly advanced



Intelligence & work

Personnel selection research provides much evidence that intelligence (g) is an important predictor of performance in training and on the job, especially in higher level work. This article provides evidence that g has pervasive utility in work settings because it is essentially the ability to deal with cognitive complexity, in particular, with complex information processing. The more complex a work task, the greater the advantages that higher g confers in performing it well. Everyday tasks, like job duties, also differ in their level of complexity. The importance of intelligence therefore differs systematically across different arenas of social life as well as economic endeavour.
Why g matters: The complexity of everyday life - Linda S.Gottfredson - Intelligence - 1997

Cattell - Fuid & crystallised intelligence

In 1971, Cattell published a book entitled Abilities: Their Structure, Growth, and Action. In it, he posited that there were two types of intelligence that people possess, but at greater abundance at different points in life.

The first is fluid intelligence, which Cattell defined as the ability to reason, think flexibly, and solve novel problems. It is what we commonly think of as raw smarts, and researchers find that it is associated with both reading and mathematical ability. Innovators typically have an abundance of fluid intelligence. Cattell, who specialized in intelligence testing, observed that it was highest relatively early in adulthood and diminished rapidly starting in one’s thirties and forties. Based on this finding, Cattell believed younger people are naturally the best innovators in raw, new ideas. The young killers in almost every modern industry rely on fluid intelligence. They learn quickly, focus hard on what matters, and devise solutions.

Fluid intelligence isn’t the only kind--there is also crystallized intelligence. This is defined as the ability to use a stock of knowledge learned in the past. Think once again about the metaphor of a vast library. But this time, instead of regretting how slow the librarian is, marvel at the size of the book collection your librarian is wandering around in, and the fact that he knows where to find a book, even if it takes him a while. Crystallized intelligence, relying as it does on a stock of knowledge, tends to increase with age through one’s forties, fifties, and sixties—and does not diminish until quite late in life, if at all.

Cattell himself described the two intelligences in this way: “[Fluid intelligence] is conceptualized as the decontextualized ability to solve abstract problems, while crystallized intelligence represents a person’s knowledge gained during life by acculturation and learning.” Translation: When you are young, you have raw smarts; when you are old, you have wisdom. When you are young, you can generate lots of facts; when you are old, you know what they mean and how to use them.

Adapted from FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life by Arthur C. Brooks, published on February 15th 2022 



Personalised intelligence

Comming soon


Too clever for your own good?

Highly intelligent people tend to make good progress in the workplace and are seen as fit for leadership roles: overall, smarter is usually associated with success. But if you examine the situation more closely, you find evidence that too much intelligence can harm leadership effectiveness. Overall, women tend to employ better leadership styles, and to a lesser extent so did older leaders, but the bulk of the variance is accounted for by personality and intelligence. Intelligence showa a positive linear relationship with leadership effectiveness, but this association flattens out and then reverses at an IQ of about 120. For leaders with higher intelligence than this, their scores in transformational and instrumental leadership were lower, on average, than less smart leaders; and beyond an IQ of 128, the association with less effective leadership was clear and statistically significant.

Can Super Smart Leaders Suffer From Too Much of a Good Thing? - John Antonakis - American Psychological Association - 2017