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Medical The Flynn Effect

  1. Sep 12, 2005 #1

    I find this "flynn effect" to be very interest. I had come upon this idea in a old psychology textbook this morning, and it saids the underlying cause is still unknown, or debatable. Any comments, other resources on this idea, and underlying reasons behind this observation will be much appreciated, thank you.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2005
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 15, 2005 #2
    I suggest you follow some of Steven Johnsons writings. He is the Emerging Technology columnist for Discover magazine. He wrote a book based around the Flynn effect, Everything Good is Bad for you: how popular culture is actually making us smarter. He has a blog at www.stevenberlinjohnson.com.

    He contends that the reason people are getting smarter is that our culture is getting more complicated. If you take a look at the shows we as a culture are now watching (such as 24, Friends, Seinfield) and compare them of the shows 30 years ago (like Dallas, Three's Company, Bonanza) you can see instantly how much more complex the shows are today. This helps you strenthen your brain (for shows in particular, your EQ, or Emotional Quotient) and become better at picking out emotions and other social clues.

    Also, this is true with gaming (and pretty much every facet of modern culture). I don't even think I need to elaborate on how the Sims is more complex than Pong. The current games require you to think ahead of what is going to happen, and problem solve for that.

    If you also think about the social nerd who sits on the computer all day with their 10 IM windows open, listening to music, and doing their homework, this paints a pretty good picture of how our daily lives are much more brain intensive.

    His theory sure makes sense to me. I've often wondered why I am able to figure things out better than a 35 year old on the game show, when the answer is right in the hosts face.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2005
  4. Sep 15, 2005 #3


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    Does Johnson extend his explanation back in time? The Flynn effect was first noticed in post WWII children, compared to those from the 1920s. It was often explained then as being due to better nutrition; the same clade of kids who were apparently smarter were also taller.

    And many would say that the reason you can figure out the game show answer when the contestant can't is that they plan it that way to make the show popular, so they can charge more for advertising. Contestants are chosen to be personable chumps.
  5. Sep 28, 2005 #4


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    :bugeye: I see a correlation...

    Intelligence is directly proportional to height!!!! :bugeye: :bugeye: :bugeye:

    I better get started on writing!
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