The Flynn Effect

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http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/FLYNNEFF.html


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!
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.
 
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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.
 
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selfAdjoint
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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.
 
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selfAdjoint said:
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.
:bugeye: I see a correlation...

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

I better get started on writing!
 
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