This won't make mom and dad happy...

The majority of us taking this class are teenagers. We're all in college, feeling independent and in control of our own lives. Being teenagers, a lot of us also harbor an idea that we know absolutely everything there is to know about the world we live in. In most cases and situations that is not the case, because obviously not one person could ever know everything. However, you may actually know more than your parents do. Although your parents will disagree with that statement, due to your lack of life experiences compared to themselves, I am here to tell you that you actually are smarter than them. Sorry mom and dad! This idea, called the Flynn Effect, has been such a scientific phenomenon that scientists are intricately studying it trying to find all the links they can to intelligence passing through genes. 

For over 60 years, James R. Flynn has been studying the differences in genes within the population. He found through all of his experiments and studies that all IQ scores have increased with each new generation created. Whenever IQ is being discussed, the topics of   fluid and crystallized intelligence are always brought up as well. How many of you just read that and thought oh crap...I have no idea what the difference between fluid and crystallized intelligence is? Well don't fret! That is a common mistake and don't feel guilty, many people go their entire lives not knowing the difference, so consider yourself lucky that you will now know the difference! 

  • Fluid intelligence is being able to think and reason abstractly and solve problems. This ability is considered independent of learning, experience, and education. 
  • On the other hand, Crystallized intelligence involves knowledge that comes from prior learning, past experiences, reading comprehension and vocabulary terms. This type of intelligence is based upon facts and rooted in experiences.
Flynn found in his observations that Fluid intelligence increases generally by 15 points per generation, and there is about a 9 point increase when it comes to crystallized intelligence tests. 

At this point you're probably wondering what the reasons for the intelligence gains per generation could be, and there are, as there always seems to be, a couple of different hypotheses. Better education, societal changes, and better nutrition have all been discussed towards making the gains in our intelligence. 

  1. Better education: We are living in a society where going to college is now almost required if someone wants a high paying or well respected job. This wasn't always the case when it came to getting an occupation. This raise in such a push for higher education brings with it a societal pressure for kids to learn more and constantly push their educational boundaries. 
  2. Societal changes: We have progressed so much as a society throughout the years that our norms and expectations of people have grown enormously. We expect people to be well educated and have good morals. Our society has already adjusted to everyone being a lot more intelligent than they once were due to our advanced technology that we work with on an everyday basis. Microwaves, cell phones, computers, all require a certain amount of knowledge and reasoning in order to use them correctly and in a useful way. 
  3. Better nutrition: It sounds lame but when we feed our bodies well, we feed our brains even better. We have realized so many new things when it comes to nutrition and that could absolutely be a big factor in our intelligence levels. When people are more aware of their health and keeping up with their bodies, they are more often than not more studious and able to keep up with their studies as opposed to being sick and not keeping up. 
With all of this information at our fingertips it's hard to tell what exactly is causing this raise in IQ's, but it is undoubtedly there. I would like to throw in a question for some of you because i'm curious as to what people think about it. Do you feel that this gain in our IQ's is due to nature, or nurture, or both even? Being completely honest I think it's a mix of both, because I feel that how could one possibly be smarter than ones parents if the "nurture" aspect doesn't matter at all? So sorry mom and dad, your kids aren't lying when they say they know more than you...except of course when it comes to parenting. But hey! You should be proud. It's thanks to you that they can say they're more intelligent, because without your genes or parenting methods, they wouldn't be. 


I thought this was really interesting and parts of it made sense, like the fact that our generation has a better education system than our parents probably did. There are a lot of books that I had to read in high school that my mom never did - she grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania and her high school education system was sub par to say the least. She's one of the smartest people I know, but her education was definitely lower quality than what I was given. But I don't completely agree that we're smarter than our parents: experience is one of the best teachers in my opinion and we've experienced so little. My mom and dad are the two wisest people I know and it's because of everything they've lived through. But that's just my opinion.

I do not think we are smarter than our parents I just think our knowledge and minds are different. Our parents were raised in a time that we know very little about. In their prime ages of development they were taught with different methods and learned different material, much of which we don't learn today. As modern students we learn through the internet and new technology such as iPads and Smart Boards. Haven't IQ tests also changed over time? My explanation for The Flynn Effect is simply that our our parents are old and you can not teach an old dog new tricks. One day we will be just as outdated and confused as they are with technology and our kids will be the ones helping us out.

Also what happened to Paris Hilton??? Haha

While i agree that it seems as though every new generation is "smarter" than the last,but i think that requires a better definition of what smart is. Would our IQ's be increasing if we didn't effectlvy apply the knowledge passed on from our previous generations? I also think that IQ is not an effective measure of Intelligence, it does not completely measure all form of intelligence an individual may poses. IN response to the previous post, If IQ have changed over time, then there is no way of saying that the IQ's of previous generations are not equal to our own, If no cross generational IQ test has been established. The inconstancies and controversy sounding the theory of IQ which the Flynn Effect is based on makes the theory seem less plausible.

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