Let's say you score high on an IQ test.
Sounds great, right? You now know for a fact you're more intelligent than most individuals out there and, more importantly, you're also smarter than most of the people in your life. It's a huge ego boost.
Therein lies the problem. By having your intellectual superiority confirmed by an impartial and objective test, you're receiving a lifetime permission to feel superior to others. Worse, it gives you an excuse to dismiss their input because, hey, if what they're saying doesn't make sense to you, it must mean they're wrong and you're right because you're smarter than them.
Obviously, not everyone would let a high IQ score get to their head. Some people really are humble. But if knowing what your IQ is isn't going to affect the way you perceive yourself, why bother with an IQ test in the first place?
Scoring low is even worse. Aside from being depressing and embarrassing, it can potentially ruin your life. Never again will you be able to hear a differing opinion or make an important decision without second-guessing yourself.
Is the person you're disagreeing with really wrong, or do you just think that because you're stupid? Did you make a good choice, or are there better options you can't see because, again, you lack the intellectual capacity to do so? Are people really agreeing with you, or are they just feeling sorry for you because they can tell you're a moron?
Getting an average IQ score is probably the least bad outcome. It keeps you grounded. When you do something stupid, it's okay, because everybody does it from time to time. And when you make smart decisions, that's great because you did better than expected.
However, if studies are to be believed, most people think they're above average or even extraordinary in some way. Knowing for a fact that they're "nothing special" would likely be almost as devastating to them as getting a low IQ score.
So... yeah. Doing an IQ test is kind of like reading the Necronomicon. The secret knowledge it contains may destroy you.
Which makes me wonder: perhaps we're not supposed to actually do IQ tests. Perhaps they're not about scoring as high as you can, but rather about not scoring at all. Perhaps what's really being tested is our ability to walk away and be content with who we are.
Damn. That ended up sounding a lot more uplifting than I expected.