When we talk about IQ there is a tendency to misunderstand the concept behind the number itself. The IQ is often linked to the genetic intelligence of a human being, but in reality this is a perception far from reality.

A well trained brain runs and solves problems in a faster and more accurate way of one which has not been used to an ongoing reasoning. The quality of education therefore has a huge influence  on the score of the IQ and represents an interesting method to judge the operation of a school system in every nation.

The IQ is a score going from 40 to 160, which average is 100

What might seem counterintuitive is how the average IQ of the developed countries, which remained to 100 points throughout the time, did not grow along with the diffusion of a mandatory school system. Reason of this is the fact that the measurement happens within the whole population, so this leaves the average always the same (and that is also why the IQ tests regularly go through a process of regulation).

Considering that the quality of education has constantly improved in most countries, a person who scores 100 in a modern IQ test would have obtained a result of around 120 points in a test made in 1950 (the update takes the name of Flynn effect).

For example, a person with a IQ of 82 points (the value of Albany on the map), would have had a IQ above-average in the 50’s. This indicates that the Albanian school system delays compared to the other European countries, and not that the Albanian population is intrinsically less intelligent than the other countries.

The map is based on the book Intelligence: Unifying Construct for the Social Sciences di Lynn e Vanhanen, from 2012 and it’s been shared from jakubmarian.com. The authors utilised the measurements of the IQ available for every country, and the standard valutations of the students (TIMSS, PISA) and the correlations between the IQ and such studies.

It is important to notice that, due to inevitable statistical errors or wrong collection of data, difference of a few IQ points could not be statistically significant

As explained at the beginning, the IQ is typically standardised in order to have the average of the whole population set to 100. In the drafting of their research, Lynn and Vanhanen utilised a different approach and calculated the point of the IQ compared to the UK  average values, originally set to 100, and then dropped to 99 according to the results of the students, gathered in the TIMMS and PISA databases.

As we see on the map, most of the European countries have a IQ close to 100. If instead of taking into account the IQ of the UK it was taken a global value, all the European countries would have scores a value close to 110 points.

On the map there are evident the best school systems of the Northern European countries

On top there is Finland with 101 points, followed by Switzerland, Estonia and the Netherlands with 100 points. After then, with 99 points there are Sweden, UK, Germany, Belgium, Czech Republic, Iceland and Austria.

Behind those with 98 points there is France, then with 97 points Russia and Spain, besides Norway. Italy is behind all the rich European countries with 96 points with Poland. At the bottom there is Montenegro with 86 points and Albania with 82 points.

If the map allows us to see that the school systems in the North accustom people to solve complex problems, it is simple to figure out that a strong economy in a country that invest on education, leads its population to have better results in the IQ tests.

Matteo Rubboli

I am a publisher specialised in the digital distribution of culture and founder of the portal Vanilla Magazine. I don't wear a tie or branded clothes, I keep my hair short so I don't have to comb it. That's not my fault but just the way I've been drawn as...

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