Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Wonderlic Test ~ What's in a number?

So I'm reading the book, How We Decide, and I stumbled upon the Wonderlic Test.  Actually, I think I've heard of this before ~ but am curious as to what other people think about it.

The Wonderlic Test is an abbreviated version of the standard IQ test (i.e. 12 minutes long with 50 questions that are progressively more difficult).

Wikipedia's entry on the test, which can be found here:,

This assessment roughly corresponds to examples from Paul Zimmerman's The New Thinking Man's Guide to Pro Football.  According to Zimmerman, examples of average scores for each football position are as follows:
  • Offensive tackle – 26
  • Center – 25
  • Quarterback – 24
  • Guard – 23
  • Tight end – 22
  • Safety – 19
  • Linebacker – 19
  • Cornerback – 18
  • Wide receiver – 17
  • Fullback – 17 
  • Halfback – 16
According to Wikipedia, an average football player usually scores around 20 points on the test.  When the test was administered to people in varying professions, the average participant scored a 24.   Some, examples of scores from everyday professions included:

  • Chemist – 32
  • Programmer – 29
  • Journalist – 26
  • Sales – 24
  • Bank teller – 22
  • Clerical worker – 21
  • Security guard – 17
  • Warehouse – 15  
**** Also according to Wikipedia and the book, How We Decide, by Jonah Lehrer, Vince Young scored a 6 on his first attempt.

The goal of the test is to predict how well a quarterback will make decisions in the pocket.   I personally don't believe decision making is specifically and necessarily tied to one's cognitive, mathematical, and logical capabilities in all high pressure time sensitive scenarios.  I think instincts kick in and one must also listen to his/her gut.

I have to admit though, I'd be VERY curious to see how NBA super stars and other point guards in the league would perform on such a test.


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