Culture Fair IQ Test and Cultural Biases

A culture fair intelligence test is designed to be equal to the people from all cultures and societies.There are solid evidences for enhanced validity and reliability of such tests. However, claiming them free from all cultural influences may be debatable.

The culturally fair IQ tests mainly contain non-verbal questions which try to minimize the cultural influences. Yet there are opinions that consider them culturally biased as any other IQ test can be.

Limitations of a Culture Fair IQ Test

All intelligence tests are built upon the sample of what people know and what they can do at a specific moment and at a specific place. What you can’t know and what you can’t do at this moment is not subject of intelligence tests. The culture fair IQ tests are not an exception to this rule.

It can’t sample your innate intelligence. Similarly, it can’t sample your culture free knowledge. And it is no more a secret that all knowledge is based upon cultural conditions.

Theoretically, matrices test should be equally fair to the subjects from all cultures. However, practically, some cultures encourage people to think in linear and convergent ways. The test shall be unfair to those people whose cultures help them to approach it with aesthetic sequence rather than a logical succession.

Is there any evidence?

It is not merely a matter of argument...

A number of researches prove that culture fair IQ test is not fair for people from all cultures.

One of the best studies was conducted by L.S. Willard in 1968. He took a sample of 97 subjects from African Americans and tested them with Stanford Binet Scale and Culture Fair Intelligence Test (CFIT). At least 14 of the examinees hit the floor with the culture fair intelligence test while they were amongst the best with Stanford Binet scale.

I agree that 83 of testers scored the same with the both scales yet the culture fair intelligence test can’t be truly believed to be an intelligence test free from all cultural influences.

Opinion of W.R. Coch

The renowned psychologist, W. R. Coch opines:

“Cultures differ with respect to the importance they place on competition with peers in performing tasks or solving problems, on speed or quality of performance, and on variety of other test-related behaviors. Some cultures emphasize concrete rather than abstract problem solving, often to the extent that a problem has no meaning except in a concrete setting. They very notion of taking some artificially contrived test is nonsensical.”

Admissions by the Test Developers

Even the developers of the first culture fair intelligence test knew the truth in the very beginning. Originally, the first test was named as ‘Culture Free Intelligence Test.’ However, within a short span of time, they realized that same nonverbal questions were not fair to the people of all cultures. They soon changed the name of their test to ‘Culture Fair Intelligence Test’.

It is doubtful whether the testing industry can ever generate a culture fair test. However, it is important to go through its structure, procedures and practice sessions.

Even if you don’t face a specific culture fair IQ test, you shall most probably find a part of any intelligence test having the same kind of questions. Your study shall help to encounter such questions with a lot of ease.

Share Your Thoughts!

We find value in differences between learning, interpreting and overall opinions. Please share your thoughts freely about this topic, but always remain respectful. Thank you for your contribution.

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