Thursday, December 13, 2012

Does Your Smartphone Know How Smart You Are? IQ Pro iPhone App Review

Smartphones and tablet computers hold the potential to extend the availability of testing intelligence quotient (IQ) and other neuropsychological functions.

So if you use your smartphone to test your IQ your smartphone will know how smart you are.  I recently downloaded and tested the iPhone app IQ Pro.

When you search IQ at the Apple app store you get 1,919 hits.  I selected IQ Pro because it had a high user rating score (4.5 stars out of 5) and appeared to have information about the reliability and validity of the test.

IQ Pro uses a test designed to measure fluid IQ.  Fluid IQ is a concept of intelligence developed by the neuropsychologist Cattell (see reference link below).  Fluid IQ tests are designed to measure problem solving ability in unfamiliar and novel settings.  This is in contrast to estimates of IQ that measure verbal and mathematical skill level.

The figure illustrates this type of fluid IQ task from the IQ Pro app.  Users are provided a series of timed sections where a single correct response is available for a series of patterns or figures.  Users select their response and use the touch screen to move their response to the question box. 

In the app documentation, the Russian developers of this app note that the fluid IQ methods of Cattell are culturally independent and have been studied in various populations including the U.S., U.K., Germany and Czechoslovakia.

This app puts the user through a series of timed sections lasting a total of 35 minutes.  Before each section, users are introduced to the section and practice questions are available before the actual testing period.  

I found the app easy to use.  Some sections I easily completed before the time limit. On others, I was completing the last question as time expired.  There is no feedback on the correctness of responses during the test.  However, after the test is over, users can review their responses and the correct responses.

After completion of the test, the app provides an IQ estimate and a nice plot of your performance against the bell curve distribution of IQ scores in the population.  My score was consistent with other measures of IQ I have previously completed.

This app provides a measure of IQ between 50 and 160.  I know Brain Posts readers represent a high-IQ population, so if your IQ is over 160 this app may not be for you.

The app is free to download and to take one time by the user.  Additionally tests can be purchased at the following rates:
  • 10 additional tests $1.99
  • 100 additional tests $3.99
  • Unlimited tests across multiple devices $7.99

These costs are very reasonable as individual IQ test applications will run $1.99 or less depending on the number of administrations.  Formal IQ  and neuropsychological testing can run into hundreds of dollars.

I would like to see the app provide a measure of score variance such as the 95% confidence interval for IQ based on the test performance.

I was unable to locate an Android IQ Pro app in the Google Play Store.  A version is available for the iPad although my testing was limited to a version on the iPod Touch.

This app has some entertainment value but may be a helpful tool for clinicians, psychologists and educators.  I would like to see more research in the use of this type of app in real world testing.  Smartphone and tablet apps hold the promise of extending cognitive testing into remote third world populations where testing currently has limited availability.

Feel free to comment if you have experience with smartphone and tablet use for cognitive testing purposes.  I will review some additional neuropsychological apps in future posts.

Figure of screen shot from the IQ Pro app is from the author's files.

Cattell, R. (1963). Theory of fluid and crystallized intelligence: A critical experiment. Journal of Educational Psychology, 54 (1), 1-22 DOI: 10.1037/h0046743

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