A reader sent me the following email:

Hello Mr. Pumpkin,

I took the WAIS IV on 2016, and I got a FSIQ of 121 (GAI of 125). I was 23 years old at the time.

My verbal comprehension index was 130, with a 13 on similarities, and a 16 on both vocabulary and information. My perceptual reasoning index was 115, with a 12 on block design, a 14 on matrix reasoning, and a 12 on symbol search. On the working memory index I scored a 96, and I got an 11 on arithmetic, and a 7 on digit span. Lastly, on my processing speed index I got a 124, with a 17 on symbol search, and a 12 on coding. 

I was given no interpretation, but I did note the wide discrepancy between VCI and WMI, which is more than 23 points. I was diagnosed with ADHD as a child. 

Do my scores mean I am just an average person, and that I only got a 130 on VCI because I like to read a lot and I am in a PhD program in cognitive neuroscience? I did not struggle in college, and in my masters I found the classes too easy. I have only one publication, and another in progress. 

I am also concerned that before I took the WAIS IV, I had administered the matrix reasoning subtest of the WISC IV to several children as part of a research study, and that my 14 on matrix reasoning is highly inflated. Would there be a practice effect between matrix reasoning of WAIS and WISC? 

No I don’t think you’re average at all. The mere fact that you can handle a PhD program in a field as g loaded as cognitive neuroscience strongly suggests you’re at least IQ 115. Although your reading habits might have artificially increased your verbal IQ, you mentioned in another email that English is your second language which might have artificially decreased it.

On the other hand your score on Information and Vocabulary are both one standard deviation higher than your score on Similarities suggesting you are better at verbal knowledge than verbal thinking. Assuming this is signal not noise, it might be be because your reading habits give you an unfair advantage, or it simply might mean you have a really good long-term memory. I’m inclined to think it’s the latter for the reason explained above.

As for interpretations, I agree that you likely have ADD given your relatively low Working Memory index. Your relatively high processing speed suggests you’re not autistic.

As for your Matrix reasoning score being inflated by exposure to the children’s version of the test, perhaps subtract 0.5 from the scaled score, as that seems to be the practice effect:

Source: Estevis, E., Basso, M. R., & Combs, D. (2012). Effects of Practice on the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-IV Across 3- and 6-Month Intervals. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 26(2), 239–254. doi:10.1080/13854046.2012.659219

In another email, the reader asked:

I also have another question. Why do you subtract points from scores due to the Flynn effect? Does it mean the obtained score is inaccurate? Or is it to present complete info?

Because your IQ is supposed to reflect where you stand compared to U.S./U.K. people of your age and birth year and when norms become old, they typically give inflated results because newer cohorts had better nutrition and schooling. I would not necessarily correct your scores for the Flynn effect because we don’t know if scores are still increasing since the WAIS-IV’s norming and with the cultural and biological damage of covid, we may even see a small reverse Flynn effect