Forget IQ - work on EQ instead

Kudos to Dr Timothy Chan, director of SIM Global Education's academic division, for reminding parents that "IQ scores have limited use today... and can hardly predict life outcomes" (Look who's a member of Mensa now; Sept 24).

In this ultra-competitive world, where we promote the virtues of meritocracy, it is understandable that parents are keen to determine how smart their children are and if they are gifted.

But the word "gifted" does not reflect the intense challenges and psychological issues that trouble many of such children.

It is imperative that parents stop hothousing their children, and not deprive them of their childhood.

Rather than focus on the one-upmanship aspect of high IQ scores, parents should inculcate emotional intelligence (EQ) in their children instead.

A person with high IQ but low EQ may not be successful because people need to live and co-exist with others and interact harmoniously, while being mature enough to sense and intuit issues and situations.

Some of us who have friends who are Mensa members joke that our friends are very "difficult" precisely for this reason - they may be intelligent but they can also be immature and have very poor social, communication and interpersonal skills.

It is important to build the whole person.

Let us not forget that some of the most successful people on earth failed IQ tests and are school dropouts.

Michael Loh Toon Seng (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2017, with the headline 'Forget IQ - work on EQ instead'. Print Edition | Subscribe