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IQ & Motion Detection

June 20, 2013

The ability to track the motion of small objects is surprisingly well-correlated with IQ.



Visual tracking and IQ.  I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

How people perform on a simple visual task is a surprisingly correlated with their IQ.  This according to University of Rochester neuroscientist Duje Tadin and his colleagues.  In the task, objects moving left or right would appear on a screen.  The volunteers had to say which way they were moving.

DUJE TADIN (University of Rochester):

And we measured how long the movie has to be on the screen before the subjects can actually tell the motion direction.

People with higher I.Q.s could do this much more quickly – if the objects were small.  That suggests they’re better at tracking relevant information and filtering out the background – which might help them with all kinds of thinking.  Interestingly, when the objects were nearly as large as the background, people with higher I.Q.s actually performed worse – perhaps because tracking the background fights against their abilities.  I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.