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.James Flynn, a political scientist working in New Zealand, observed in the 1980's that the scores of different groups of people on standard intelligence tests had consistently augmented over the past decades. Earlier researchers had failed to pay attention to that trend, because IQ scores are always calculated with respect to the average score for the present group. By definition, the average is set to 100. Someone who scores 20% more than the average would therefore get an IQ of 120. But if that person's score would be compared with the average for the corresponding group, tested one generation earlier, the final score would be about 130. Flynn was the first to systematically make such cross-generational comparisons.
Since then, the so-called "Flynn effect" has been confirmed by numerous studies. The same pattern, an average increase of over three IQ points per decade, was found for virtually every type of intelligence test, delivered to virtually every type of group. The pattern applied to some 20 countries for which data were available, including the USA, Canada and different European nations, although the rate increase varied somewhat according to country and type of test. The increase was highest, 20 points per generation (30 years), in Belgium, Holland and Israel, and lowest, 10 points per generation, in Denmark and Sweden. Although the data are limited, it moreover seems that the increase is accelerating. In Holland, for example, scores went up most (over 8 points) for the last measured period, 1972 to 1982. For one type of test, Raven's Progressive Matrices, Flynn found data that spanned a complete century. He concluded that someone who scored among the best 10% a hundred years ago, would nowadays be categorized among the 5% weakest. That means that someone who would be considered bright a century ago, should now be considered a moron!
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