The Flynn Effect


During class Dr. Read mentioned how our civilization is getting smarter and smarter throughout time. This seems like something that should definately be occuring over time, but why? How is it that your IQ is more than likely higher than those of your parents, and the chances are your children's IQ will be higher than yours?

This is a very intertesting topic that James Flynn makes an attempt at answering. In the December 2007 edition of the Intelligent Life Magazine, The Flynn Effect trys to explain how "IQ's are rising sharply from generation to generation." Flynn discovered that "white Americans had been steadily gaining about 3/10 of an IQ point a year for almost half a century" through a series of studies he conducted consisting of over 7000 people. He decided to further back his evidence with as many international, military studies as possible. He discovered a study called Raven's Progressive Matrices that was administered to 18 year old Dutch conscripts and also to their sons of later years. It was a simple test, very similar to a puzzle, but the sons of the first test subjects ended up scoring 18 points higher on average than their fathers. He also recieved another 13 sets of data, from various countries, that all helped support IQ gains.

This specifics of the data allowed him to come to the conclusion that we aren't technically smarter than our ancestors, but we learned to apply our intelligence to a new set of problems. This is due to the shifting social priorities. An example of this is how, in the 1900's, people were totally fine with starting work at a very young age and therefore did not recieve much education. This was the standard back then, where the mass population was not interested in intelligence as much as labor. Today though, the standard has rised quite a considerate amount to where a lot more people are highly interested in education and recieving a high paying job. The simple fact is, what we value gets stronger.

Suprisingly, this was actually my hypothesis on the subject. I was skeptical to the fact that people were just getting smarter. I believe that what you expect of yourself and what you truely believe is possible for you, what you value, is where your going to end up. People back then didnt have expectations like the people of today, their mental capacity was just the same, they just didnt know many possibilities past working in the industrial field. This is especially true since the majority began work at a very young age, therefore they had no time to really dream and "upgrade" their expectations and values. So, as many times as you've heard this before, dream big because anything is possible!

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