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Online IQ Tests: How To Fail One Intelligently

I took one of those free online IQ tests, and failed. I think someone challenged me to take it. Otherwise, I’d just as soon not know how many brain cells I’ve shed in my travels.

Unless getting a solid 100 points is a pretty good showing on an IQ test? I’m not sure. It would stand to reason that if I fail an IQ test, I wouldn’t know what makes a good score or why I failed it. I usually just blame these things on brain fog.

“What’s wrong with 68?”  I ask, and no one hears at all, not even the chair. Furniture is very close mouthed and hates small talk.

Today I learned about the Dunning-Kruger effect, which is a fancy way of saying someone is stupid. Remember that if anyone tries to snow you with their fancy vocabulary about your intelligence or lack of it.

Here is what it means:

In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias, wherein persons of low ability suffer from illusory superiority when they mistakenly assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is. The cognitive bias of illusory superiority derives from the metacognitive inability of low-ability persons to recognize their own ineptitude. Without the self-awareness of metacognition, low-ability people cannot objectively evaluate their actual competence or incompetence.

It means we’re too stupid to know how stupid we are. There are upsides to everything people, and being kept in ignorance about your own ignorance is a bright side.

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So when people make fun of you for pretending to know organic chemistry, or because you said you know how to shoot hoops professionally, and you embarrassed yourself at the last office party, yell at them, “I’m carrying a Dunning Kruger, and I’m not afraid to use it!”

They’ll think you’re packing heat and are quite prepared to defend your lack of intelligence with violence.

I like starting online IQ tests, but within five minutes I’m jonesing for a drink. Maybe I should drink while testing. I might do much better. Mostly, I get bored answering those questions that have all these figures in little boxes:


These little boxes make me feel like I’m already drunk, and furthermore, they make me have to go to the bathroom. They’re like foreign road signs telling you to get the hell out of there and to watch out for tsunamis.

Besides packing your Dunning-Kruger when you take an IQ test, you have to worry about something called dysrationalia. Before you decide you know what this is, you Dunning-Krugerite, let me explain. Dysrationalia is a logical thought defect, otherwise known as, “For a smart person, you sure are stupid.”

I’ve known a lot of these. They’re different from your basic DK (Dunning-Kruger) person. These people test high in IQ tests (like I probably would if I wasn’t so arrogant about them), but they lack common sense. Like Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory.

They’re the ones who will buy fifteen containers of sunblock in Alaska, because it’s on sale.

One cause of dysrationalia is that people tend to be cognitive misers, meaning that they take the easy way out when trying to solve problems, often leading to solutions that are wrong. Another cause of dysrationalia is the mindware gap, which occurs when people lack the specific knowledge, rules and strategies needed to think rationally.

I fit easily and happily into the first description. I take the easy way out in solving problems, because that’s the rational way to solve problems. Why would you look for difficulty? Obviously, other Arrogant Buffoons think otherwise about problem solving. They’re the ones who’ll survive a zombie apocalypse. (Arrogant Buffoons would be an awesome name for a rock group.)

I also fit well in the second part, which wouldn’t be true if I didn’t have that darn Dunning-Kruger thing.

Here’s a problem from some test that tries to determine if you’re smart, but are too dumb to use your smarts, as opposed to being dumb, but are too dumb to know it.

As far as I’m concerned, the results would be the same either way if you’re attempting to give me a perm and are not qualified in any way:

1. Jack is looking at Anne, but Anne is looking at George. Jack is married, but George is not. Is a married person looking at an unmarried person?

  • A) Yes
  • B) No
  • C) Cannot be determined

More than 80 percent of people choose C.  The correct answer is A.

Here is how to think it through logically:

Anne is the only person whose marital status is unknown. You need to consider both possibilities, either married or unmarried, to determine whether you have enough information to draw a conclusion.

If Anne is married, the answer is A: she would be the married person who is looking at an unmarried person (George). If Anne is not married, the answer is still A: in this case, Jack is the married person, and he is looking at Anne, the unmarried person.

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“We’ve decided to leave you, Anne. You’re too indecisive.”

This thought process is called fully disjunctive reasoning—reasoning that considers all possibilities.

The fact that the problem does not reveal whether Anne is or is not married suggests to people that they do not have enough information, and they make the easiest inference (C) without thinking through all the possibilities.

What I’d like to know is why these three people, Jack, Anne, and George, sound like a bad soap opera.

All three are standing around looking at each other. Probably in a living room. Two are married, or maybe they’re unmarried. Anne is most likely single, even though the solution says she’s married. She knows Jack, that perve, is married, but he’s trying to hit on her. Anne wants George, but now she can’t trust him because of her bad experience with Jack. Who knows who George is looking at, or who he secretly wants, or which bathroom he’ll want to use. We’ve got enough to deal with here.

How can these people think I take the easy way out in solving problems? I’ve thought of more possibilities than they ever could for these three characters who are looking for love in all the wrong places.





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16 thoughts on “Online IQ Tests: How To Fail One Intelligently

  • June 2, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Try some of the quizzes on FB and give different answers each time. You will always get 100%. The setters want people to feel good about themselves. Apparently, IQ examiners do not!

    Cognitive misers shave with Occam`s razors. Since I don`t shave, I use mine to scrape paint off windows. (That can be taken metaphorically, too). What do you use yours for?

    • June 2, 2017 at 3:24 pm

      You are so freaking edimacated! I gotta look it up.
      Okay, I’m back. Here it is for you other Dunning-Krugerites:
      Occam’s razor (or Ockham’s razor) is a principle from philosophy. Suppose there exist two explanations for an occurrence. In this case, the simpler one is usually better. Another way of saying it is that the more assumptions you have to make, the more unlikely an explanation is.

      Wow. I would so have failed that on an IQ test. I could say that the explanation for my failure to know this is related to father issues and being too high in school. The simplest explanation is the truest: I just didn’t know it because I’m ignorant. Ha!

  • June 2, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Good take on things Dear. MY question is who is paying these people to generate these lines of logic? I fear it is the good old tax payer as usual.
    I would rather listen to your humor than an egg heads postulations about what should be or could be if everyone would just agree to his Sheldon brand logic. Love ya Babe

    • June 2, 2017 at 4:30 pm

      Thank you, MOTH! I’d rather listen to anything other than an egg head! He’s cracked!

  • June 2, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    This reminds me of a monologue by John Cleese:

    And I don’t like to shave with Occam’s razors. Personally I prefer Hanlon’s razors. I’m posh, you know. These are much better, and ideal to be kept on your pocket to fend off conspiracy theorists in the Internet.

    • June 3, 2017 at 12:18 am

      Now I gotta look up Hanlon’s razors! What the heck? I’m packin’ a Dunning Kruger, y’know.

    • June 3, 2017 at 12:21 am

      Now I gotta look up Hanlon’s razors! Quit shaving you people! I carry a Dunning Kruger and I’m not afraid to use it. The John Cleese video was scary, Senor!

      • June 3, 2017 at 1:48 am

        Yeah, most videos Cleese did after getting old are kinda scary, imho. And Dunning-Kruger is how I’d probably have named a state-of-art pistol made in WWI Germany.

        • June 3, 2017 at 5:32 am

          Yes! That is what I was thinking of! WWII!
          Well, getting older is scary. Suddenly, you realize nothing much has changed in forever. Haha!

  • June 2, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    I still don’t get it. Is Anne married or not?

    And is she available?

    • June 3, 2017 at 12:17 am

      I’ll send you her phone number. She says she likes ex-Marine sheriff lawyers. BUT! He must like coconut oil.

      • June 3, 2017 at 5:45 pm

        Never mind then. Coconut oil. Gack!

        • June 3, 2017 at 6:16 pm

          You’re just like Frasier and Seinfeld. There’s always a fly in the oil. Sigh.

  • June 3, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Hanlon`s razor may apply to the current political scene over there – I guess gloom is preferable to doom? I had to look that up AND Dunning-Kruger, a fact that might very well make me one of those “ites”. I sure am learning a lot from your posts and commentators.

    • June 3, 2017 at 6:19 pm

      I know, right? Terry, on Quora, a nice Jewish lady, just found out from me the Yiddish phrase for ‘a board with a hole in it’. My grandmother told me once that she was so skinny when she was young, that her mom called her that, but I couldn’t remember the word. Terry found it in a book online! Haha! ‘Quora is such a place for learning!’ she said.

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