Shrinks established a century ago that IQ tests can predict performance … but provocative interpretations of test results reinforced tragic misconceptions that persist to this day

Although most Americans have never heard of Lewis Terman, they have unshakeable faith in many of his views on high intelligence and IQ scores. Yet, if they heard some of the late Stanford professor’s other thoughts on those subjects, they’d react with disbelief or even outrage.

In experiments that began in the early 1900s, Terman helped establish that high IQ scores tend to predict success in school and the workplace. That might seem like common sense now, but a century ago many believed early achievers faded later in life. A popular slogan, “Early to...

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