Major Movements in Psychology

Intelligence Testing

What are the best ways to reduce cultural bias in IQ tests?

While it is probably impossible to remove all cultural bias from IQ tests, there are ways to ensure that the test is relevant to as broad a sample of people as possible. This is especially important in highly diverse societies such as the United States. The WAIS-IV includes non-verbal tests such as Block Design and Matrix Reasoning that are not dependent on language and not too dependent on education. Further, the use of abstract, geometric shapes avoids culturally meaningful images. It is also important to exclude items that depend on knowledge that is relevant to only a small percentage of the population. For example, early intelligence tests included items on the make and model of specific cars, which would only be relevant to people who drive and who care about cars. Another important way to reduce cultural bias is to provide norms for different segments of the population. The WAIS-IV includes norms for different age groups and many other cognitive tests provide separate norms for people with different levels of education. Finally, translation of tests into several languages is also very important.

Some people question the usefulness of IQ tests because it is difficult to create a test that is not skewed somewhat by cultural biases (iStock).

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