Are IQ tests enough to measure intelligence in the blind? Brief review of available and potential methods to estimate intelligence in the blind

Katarzyna Rączy,

Maksymilian Korczyk


Measuring intelligence in the blind population is a very challenging task. The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, one of the most popular IQ tests, is not suitable due to its reliance on visual stimuli. However, one can observe that neuroscientists have started to look for neural correlates of intelligence, for example by measuring the accuracy of performance in a popular n-back task while subjects undergo fMRI scans. It has been shown that the so-called general intelligence strongly correlates with the memory system in sighted people. Since working memory can also be tested independently of a given sensory input, it can prove to be an excellent tool to measure the working memory capacity, which can serve as a neural correlate of intelligence in the blind.

Słowa kluczowe: IQ tests, blind, partially sighted, intelligence, n-back

Abu-Hamour, B., Al Hmouz, H., Mattar, J., & Muhaidat, M. (2012). Th e use of Woodcock-Johnson tests for identifying students with special needs – a comprehensive literature review. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 47: 665–673.

Acar, S., Hansen, S., Dolata, J., & Chen, C.Y. (2014). An overview of developmental screening: Implications for practice. Bașent University Journal of Education, 1(1): 9–18.

Amedi, A., Malach, R., Hendler, T., Peled, S., & Zohary, E. (2001). Visuo-haptic object-related activation in the ventral visual pathway. Nature Neuroscience, 4(3): 324.

Amedi, A., Raz, N., Pianka, P., Malach, R., & Zohary, E. (2003). Early ‘visual’ cortex activation correlates with superior verbal memory performance in the blind. Nature Neuroscience, 6(7): 758–766.

Anderson, R.P., & Belz, H. (1964). Raven’s Progressive Matrices for presentation to the blind: Final report. Lubbock, TX: Texas Technological College.

Ashcroft , S.C. (1959). Chapter VI: Th e blind and partially seeing. Review of Educational Research, 29(5): 519–528.

Atkins, S. (2011). Assessing the Ability of Blind and Partially Sighted People: Are Psychometric Tests Fair? Birmingham: RNIB Centre for Accessible Information.

Bishop, V.E. (1996). Preschool Children with Visual Impairments. Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Bliss, I., Kujala, T., & Hämäläinen, H. (2004). Comparison of blind and sighted participants’ performance in a letter recognition working memory task. Cognitive Brain Research, 18(3): 273–277.

Burton, H., Snyder, A.Z., Conturo, T.E., Akbudak, E., Ollinger, J.M., & Raichle, M.E. (2002).

Adaptive changes in early and late blind: a fMRI study of Braille reading. Journal of Neurophysiology, 87(1): 589–607.

Büchel, C., Price, C., Frackowiak, R.S., & Friston, K. (1998). Diff erent activation patterns in the visual cortex of late and congenitally blind subjects. Brain: A Journal of Neurology, 121(3): 409–419.

Bradley-Johnson, S. (1997). Brigance diagnostic life skills inventory. Psychology in the Schools, 34(4): 382–384.

Brand, H.J., Pieterse, M.J., & Frost, M. (1986). Reliability and validity of the Ohwaki-Kohs tactile block design test for the blind. Psychological Reports, 58(2): 375–380.

Brigance, A.H. (1994). Brigance Diagnostic Life Skills Inventory. Curriculum Associates, Incorporated: Hawker Brownlow Education.Burgess, P.W., Gonen-Yaacovi, G., & Volle, E. (2011). Functional neuroimaging studies of prospective memory: what have we learnt so far? Neuropsychologia, 49(8): 2246–2257.

Canivez, G.L., Konold, T.R., Collins, J.M., & Wilson, G. (2009). Construct validity of the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence and Wide Range Intelligence Test: Convergent and structural validity. School Psychology Quarterly, 24(4): 252.

Carpenter, P.A., Just, M.A., & Shell, P. (1990). What one intelligence test measures: a theoretical account of the processing in the Raven Progressive Matrices Test. Psychological Review, 97(3): 404–431.

Cassar, C., & Lucchese, F. (2016). Psychometric test for blind adults and children, critical issues and perspectives. International Journal of Developmental and Educational Psychology (Revista INFAD de Psicología), 2(1): 109–116.

Chen, M.S., Huang, Ch.K., & Wang, Ch.N. (2010). Working memory for spatial construction in blind and sighted individuals. Journal of the Chinese Institute of Industrial Engineers, 27(3): 199–208.

Cohen, H., Scherzer, P., Viau, R., Voss, P., & Lepore, F. (2011). Working memory for braille is shaped by experience. Communicative & Integrative Biology, 4(2): 227–229.

Cohen, H., Voss, P., Lepore, F., & Scherzer, P. (2010). Th e nature of working memory for braille. PLoS One, 5(5): 135–164.

Conway, A.R., Kane, M.J., & Engle, R.W. (2003). Working memory capacity and its relation to general intelligence. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 7(12): 547–552.

Dauterman, W.L. (1965). Stanford Ohwaki-Kohs Tactile Block Design Intelligence Test for Blind. Report Resume. Washington: U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

Davis, C.J. (1980). Perkins-Binet Tests of Intelligence for the Blind: Adapted Primarily from the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, Th ird Revision, Form LM, with the Permission of Houghton Miffl in Company, Boston, Massachusetts. Perkins School for the Blind.

Dekker, R. (1993). Visually impaired children and haptic intelligence test scores: Intelligence Test for Visually Impaired Children (ITVIC). Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 35(6): 478–489.

Dial, J., Mezger, C., Gray, S., Massey, T., Chan, F., & Hull, J. (1990). Manual: Comprehensive Vocational Evaluation System. Dallas, TX: McCarron-Dial Systems.

Duncan, E., Weidel, J.W., Prickett, H.T., Vernon, M., & Hollingsworth-Hodges, T. (1989). The tactile TONI: A possible new performance IQ test for blind adults? Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 83(10): 510–511.

Engle, R.W., Tuholski, S.W., Laughlin, J.E., & Conway, A.R. (1999). Working memory, short-term memory, and general fl uid intelligence: a latent-variable approach. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 128(3): 309.

Fewell R.R., & Langley, M.B. (1989). Developmental Activities Screening Inventory–II. Austin, TX: Pro-ed Inc. Główny Urząd Statystyczny (GUS) (2004). Stan zdrowia ludności Polski w 2004.

Gough, H.G., & Domino, G. (1963). Th e D 48 test as a measure of general ability among grade school children. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 27(4): 344–349.

Gray, J.R., & Th ompson, P.M. (2004). Neurobiology of intelligence: science and ethics. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 5(6): 471–482.

Harrison, P., & Oakland, T. (2003). Adaptive Behavior Assessment System (ABAS-II). San Antonio, TX: Th e Psychological Corporation.

Hill-Briggs, F., Dial, J.G., Morere, D.A., & Joyce, A. (2007). Neuropsychological assessment of persons with physical disability, visual impairment or blindness, and hearing impairment or deafness. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 22(3): 389–404.

Hoover, H.D., Dunbar, S.B., & Frisbie, D.A. (2003). ITBS Forms A and B Guide to Research and Development. Itasca: Riverside.

Hornowska, E. (2004). Skale Inteligencji dla Dorosłych Davida Wechslera WAIS-R oraz WAIS-III. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Scholar.

Jaeggi, S.M., Studer-Luethi, B., Buschkuehl, M., Su, Y.F., Jonides, J., & Perrig, W.J. (2010). The relationship between n-back performance and matrix reasoning – implications for training and transfer. Intelligence, 38(6): 625–635.

Kaczmarek, B.M. (ed.) (2011). Zbiorczy raport z diagnozy świadczonych usług z zakresu rehabilitacji społecznej dla osób niepełnosprawnych w Polsce. Accessed August 4, 2018 from

Kane, M.J., Conway, A.R.A., Miura, T.K., & Colfl esh, J.H. (2007). Working memory, attention control, and the N-Back Task: a question of construct validity. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 33(3): 615–622.

Kucharczyk, I. (2015). Specyfi ka funkcjonowania poznawczego osób niewidomych. In: K. Czerwińska, M. Paplińska, M. Walkiewicz-Krutak (eds.). Tyfl opedagogika wobec współczesnej przestrzeni edukacyjno-rehabilitacyjnej (pp. 77–87). Warszawa: APS.

Mason, H.L., & Shukla, S.R. (1992). Th e use of the Blind Learning Aptitude Test in England and Wales, India and the USA. British Journal of Visual Impairment, 10(3): 95–99.

Mazella, A., Albaret, J.M., & Picard, D. (2014). Haptic tests for use with children and adults with visual impairments: a literature review. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 108(3): 227–237.

Mazella, A., Albaret, J.M., & Picard, D. (2016). Haptic-2D: A new haptic test battery assessing the tactual abilities of sighted and visually impaired children and adolescents with two-dimensional raised materials. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 48: 103–123.

Miller, J.C., Skillman, G.D., Benedetto, J.M., Holtz, A.M., Nassif, C.L., & Weber, A.D. (2007). A three-dimensional haptic matrix test of nonverbal reasoning. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, 101: 557–570.

Mohammed, Z., & Omar, R. (2011). Comparison of reading performance between visually impaired and normally sighted students in Malaysia. British Journal of Visual Impairment, 29(3): 196–207.

Nelson, P.A., Dial, J.G., & Joyce, A. (2002). Validation of the Cognitive Test for the Blind as an assessment on intellectual functioning. Rehabilitation Psychology, 47(2): 184–193.

Newland, T.E. (1969). Th e Blind Learning Aptitude Test. Washington: US Department of Health Education and Welfare.

Newland, T.E. (1990). Th e Blind Learning Aptitude Test in rehabilitation assessment. Rehabilitation Psychology, 35(3): 181.

Nęcka, E., Orzechowski, J., & Szymura, B. (2006). Psychologia poznawcza. Warszawa: Academica Wydawnictwo SWPS, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN.

Oberauer, K., Süß, H.M., Wilhelm, O., & Wittmann, W.W. (2008). Which working memory functions predict intelligence? Intelligence, 36: 641–652.

Ohwaki, Y., Tanno, Y., Ohwaki, M., Hariu, T., Hasasake, K., & Miyake, K. (1960). Construction of an intelligence test for the blind. Psychological Folia, 18: 45–65.

Paknikar, K. (1981). Vithoba Paknikar Performance Tests for the Blind. International Journal of Rehabilitation Research, 4: 223–224.

Pigeon, C., & Marin-Lamellet, C. (2015). Evaluation of the attentional capacities and working memory of early and late blind persons. Acta Psychologica, 155: 1–7.

Postma, A., Zuidhoek, S., Noordzij, M.L., & Kappers, A.M. (2007). Diff erences between earlyblind, late-blind, and blindfolded-sighted people in haptic spatial-confi guration learning and resulting memory traces. Perception, 36(8): 1253–1265.

Reid, J.M.V. (2002). Testing the nonverbal intelligence of working-age visually impaired adults: Evaluation of the adapted Kohs Block Design Test. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 96: 585–595.

Reich, L., Szwed, M., Cohen, L., & Amedi, A. (2011). A ventral visual stream reading center independent of visual experience. Current Biology, 21(5): 363–368.

Rich, C.C. (1963). Th e validity of an adaptation of Raven’s progressive matrices test for use with blind children (Doctoral dissertation).

Rich, C.C., & Anderson, R.P. (1965). A tactual form of the progressive matrices for use with blind children. Journal of Counseling & Development, 43(9): 912–919.

Röder, B., & Rösler, F. (2003). Memory for environmental sounds in sighted, congenitally blind and late blind adults: evidence for cross-modal compensation. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 50: 27–39.

Röder, B., Stock, O., Bien, S., Neville, H., & Rösler, F. (2002). Speech processing activates visual cortex in congenitally blind humans. European Journal of Neuroscience, 16(5): 930–936.

Rust, J.O., & Wallace, M.A. (2004). Book review: Adaptive behavior assessment system. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 22(4): 367–373.

Sadato, N., Pascual-Leone, A., Grafman, J., Ibanez, V., Deiber, M.P., Dold, G., & Hallett, M. (1996). Activation of the primary visual cortex by Braille reading in blind subjects. Nature, 380: 526–528.

Shukla, S.R. (1990). Applicability of the Blind Learning Aptitude Test to Indian children. International Journal of Rehabilitation Research, 13(2): 175–177.

Shurrager, H.C., & Shurrager, P.S. (1964). HISab: Manual Haptic Intelligence Scale for Adult Blind. Chicago: Psychology Research Technology Center.

Spearman, C. (1927). Th e Abilities of Man. New York: Macmillan.

Spencer, R.A. (1996). Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children – third edition verbal short forms for children with visual impairments (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from the University Libraries, University of Arizona.

Suinn, R., Dauterman, W., & Shapiro, B. (1966). Th e Standard Ohwaki-Kohs Tactile Block Design Intelligence Test for the Blind. New Outlook for the Blind, 60: 77–79.

Teare, J.F., & Th ompson, R.W. (1982). Concurrent validity of the Perkins-Binet Tests of Intelligence for the Blind. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 76(7): 279–280.

Thiebaut, E., Collin, M., Bâton, C., & Fourtier, A. (2002). L’épreuve B101-DV d’intelligence pratique de Bonnardel adaptée à un public d’aveugles et de malvoyants: Stabilité de la signifi - cation des mesures [Bonnardel’s B101-DV test of practical intelligenceadapted to blind and visually impaired persons]. Psychologie et Psychométrie, 23: 7–33.

Tobin, M.J., & Hill, E.W. (2011). Issues in the educational, psychological assessment of visually impaired children: Test-retest reliability of the Williams Intelligence Test for Children with Defective Vision. British Journal of Visual Impairment, 29(3): 208–214.

Vander Kolk, C.J. (1982). A comparison of intelligence test score patterns between visually impaired subgroups and the sighted. Rehabilitation Psychology, 27(2): 115–120.

Voelke, A.E., Troche, S.J., Rammsayer, T.H., Wagner, F.L., & Roebers, C.M. (2013). Sensory discrimination, working memory and intelligence in 9-year-old and 11-year-old children. Infant and Child Development, 22(5): 523–538.

Ward, M.E., & Genshaft , J. (1983). Th e Perkins-Binet tests: A critique and recommendations for administration. Exceptional Children, 49(5): 450–452.

Wechsler, D. (1994). Th e Measurement of Adult Intelligence (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins.

Wechsler, S.M., Nunes, C.S., Schelini, P.W., Pasian, S.R., Homsi, S.V., Moretti, L., & Anache, A.A. (2010). Brazilian adaptation of the Woodcock-Johnson III Cognitive Tests. School Psychology International, 31: 409–421.

Wetzel, R., & Knowlton, M. (2000). A comparison of print and braille reading rates on three reading tasks. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 94(3): 146–154.

Williams, M. (1956). Williams Intelligence Test for Children with Defective Vision. Windsor: National Foundation for Educational Research.

Withagen, A., Vervloed, M.P., Janssen, N.M., Knoors, H., & Verhoeven, L. (2009). Th e Tactual Profi le: Development of a procedure to assess the tactual functioning of children who are blind. British Journal of Visual Impairment, 27(3): 221–238.

Pierwotną wersją czasopisma jest wersja elektroniczna publikowana w internecie.
Czasopismo ukazuje się w sposób ciągły on-line