At isteve, someone asked about the ten question vocabulary test given to GSS participants (average scores on which are commonly used as a proxy for IQ), and a commenter provided a link to this paper, indicating that the test which appears on pages 13 and 14 is the same as that on the GSS. Google confirms to my satisfaction that this is the GSS word list:
More depressing, perhaps, are the growing indications that people know fewer basic facts than they did decades ago. When data are corrected for age differences, it is clear that the level of knowledge for vocabulary has been slipping since the turn of the century. Individuals born around 1900 could define on the average 6.47 of the following ten words: space, broaden, emanate, edible, animosity, pact, cloistered, caprice, accustom, and allusion.Another book features the instructions and example, but not the word list:
Because the National Opinion Research Center uses this set of words in other surveys, we will not list the specific words here.Since I don't see any way publishing it here will materially affect future results, here is the complete test:
We would like to know something about how people go about guessing words they do not know. On this card are listed some words. You may know some of them, and you may not know quite a few of them. On each line, the first word is in capital letters--- like BEAST. Then there are five other words. Please circle the number of the word that comes closest to the meaning of the word in capital letters. For example, if the word in capital letters is BEAST, you would circle “4” since “animal” comes closer to BEAST than any of the other words.
Circle only one number for each item below.
BEAST 1. afraid 2. words 3. large 4. animal 5. separate 6. don’t know
A. SPACE 1. school 2. noon 3. captain 4. room 5. board 6. don’t know
B. BROADEN 1. efface 2. make level 3. elapse 4. embroider 5. widen 6. don’t know
C. EMANATE 1. populate 2. free 3. prominent 4. rival 5. come 6. don’t know
D. EDIBLE 1. auspicious 2. eligible 3. fit to eat 4. sagacious 5. able to speak 6. don’t know
E. ANIMOSITY 1. hatred 2. animation 3. disobedience 4. diversity 5. friendship 6. don’t know
F. PACT 1. puissance 2. remonstrance 3. agreement 4. skillet 5. pressure 6. don’t know
G. CLOISTERED 1. miniature 2. bunched 3. arched 4. malady 5. secluded 6. don’t know
H. CAPRICE 1. value 2. a star 3. grimace 4. whim 5. inducement 6. don’t know
I. ACCUSTOM 1. disappoint 2. customary 3. encounter 4. get used to 5. business 6. don’t know
J. ALLUSION 1. reference 2. dream 3. eulogy 4. illusion 5. aria 6. don’t know