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What Does A Low Score On An IQ Test Indicate?

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Posted on Mon, 14 Nov 2016
Question: What can a low score on the digit symbol coding task mean at my age (22)
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Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka (1 hour later)
Brief Answer:
Read below.

Detailed Answer:
I read your question carefully and I understand your concern.

The test which you mention is a test which has been in the past part of IQ tests and in these later years it is being used separately to assess cognition. It doesn't test only one cognitive field but several functions such as processing speed, attention, working memory, visuospatial processing. Its significance has not been fully established but it has been suggested by studies that a low score may indicate mild cognitive dysfunction and a higher likelihood (higher likelihood doesn't mean that it will be the case) of developing dementia in the years to come. As I said though there this test is starting to become popular in later years and there are not enough studies to validate it and make predictions about the future.

In addition these tests may always be affected by issues like anxiety which affect cognitive performance. At your very young age I really wouldn't attach a major significance to it unless there are other factors, because developing dementia is unlikely for several more decades.

I remain at your disposal for other questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Olsi Taka (18 minutes later)
Its strange because in other cognitive test I seem to do well like the Ravlt and Stroop test even in tests that measure the same cognitive functions that the Digit symbol coding task measures like working memory (reverse digit span test) and processing speed. Is it possible to just be bad in one particular test and not have cognitive impairment?
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Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka (39 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Yes it is possible

Detailed Answer:
Hello again! Now that you mention Ravlt I think I remember you and some of our discussions from last year.

Yes, especially since the tests are differently constructed it is possible to perform better in some tests than in others, depending on which cognition skills are more advanced, all of us have our strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore even for the same test one can have some variations if taken in different days, as I said factors like anxiety may affect performance. So it is possible to perform bad in one (or even more for that matter) tests and not have cognitive impairment.

In addition these tests are not to be seen as verdicts. As you can see since you seem to have read a lot on the subject, there are so many of them, none having earned a definitive status. They need time and many studies to earn validation, only one or two publications supporting them is not enough.

Let me know if I can further assist you.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Olsi Taka

Neurologist

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 3674 Questions

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What Does A Low Score On An IQ Test Indicate?

Brief Answer: Read below. Detailed Answer: I read your question carefully and I understand your concern. The test which you mention is a test which has been in the past part of IQ tests and in these later years it is being used separately to assess cognition. It doesn't test only one cognitive field but several functions such as processing speed, attention, working memory, visuospatial processing. Its significance has not been fully established but it has been suggested by studies that a low score may indicate mild cognitive dysfunction and a higher likelihood (higher likelihood doesn't mean that it will be the case) of developing dementia in the years to come. As I said though there this test is starting to become popular in later years and there are not enough studies to validate it and make predictions about the future. In addition these tests may always be affected by issues like anxiety which affect cognitive performance. At your very young age I really wouldn't attach a major significance to it unless there are other factors, because developing dementia is unlikely for several more decades. I remain at your disposal for other questions.