James Flynn: Why our IQ levels are higher than our grandparents’

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A couple of previous posts, both with vigerous comment threads.

Now there’s this, and I think it fits right in.

Be careful you don’t actually change your mind about anything.

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  1. Richard, hours of silence. So….perhaps an exception from the expanding cognitive skill-set (‘ammunition’) that has produced the near-doubling in IQ scores in 100 years is the skill of good ol’ “switching gears”?!

    Or could it be that FTA commenters are so full of RS and good carbs that they are warm, sated and way too cozy to deal with anything else? :)
    There could be a drawback there after all!

    PS>they’ve known for nearly 100 years too (the russian peasant studies he mentions) that what is actually measured by an IQ test is something that depends on your environment, that it changes with time, that you can train for it. It has little to do with any permanent intelligence one is born with and much to do with someone’s training, education, life experiences, the person’s “background”.
    Even Binet, the first developer of an ‘intelligence’ test, the Binet-Simon Scale, warned about this….ca.1900!

    This “cultural bias” is why new IQ tests are always put through their own ‘invariability test’ by some cognitive psych researchers…..where the tests invariably fail .
    That is, give the same type of test repeatedly to the same subjects, they invariably improve – so it’s measuring something beyond innate intelligence. (I know, that’s ‘duh’, and yet….the loopy-loops some people try in order to get around this are dizzying!)

    If only more cog.psychologists (heh, pun!) were also moral philosophers like Flynn above, perhaps they would deduce logically the invariability of ‘cultural’ bias?
    (musings of a member from those erstwhile ‘inferior working classes’)

    I will now go take my daily RS, and some cold potato salad perhaps, and join the throngs of the warm and cozy ūüėÄ

  2. doogiehowsermd says:

    I have a lower IQ than my grandparents. How do you explain that?

  3. doogiehowsermd says:

    @marie. This used to be a top 50,000 website globally. What’s the ranking now? There be your answer – not potato salad.

  4. @doogiehowsermd

    “I have a lower IQ than my grandparents. How do you explain that?”

    I don’t. He’s talking about overall trends so right off the bat, I get the sense he knows what he’s talking about and well, you just have a fundamental inability to intelligently quotient that, or you’re just the plain jane dishonest commenter who often shows up to….

    “This used to be a top 50,000 website globally.”

    …expose their ignorance. First of all, this site was never even close to 50K. It once dipped down to about 85K for a brief time but was usually in the 95-105K realm. Then one day, everything changed. Sure, I thought it might be about the drama and such, but that was before Sisson asked me if I knew why Alexa ratings had basically dropped by about 100%.

    See, he was 2-3K, now over 6K. Robb Wolf, same deal. And many others.

    Sorry to bust your ignorant narrative, though.

  5. Never heard of Luria – here he is:

    And I did not know Augustine was black, although it depends on the definition (and hypothetically the definition doesn’t matter!):

    That was interesting, but I didn’t really get the point about ignorance of history – surely that’s what you’d expect with a hypothetical mindset? Or was he saying that’s a necessary drawback? And his factual points about the wars are at least debatable.

  6. GrzeTor says:

    Some tests are showing high declines from past times. For example reaction times – which are known as a proxy for IQ – are higher (=worse results) than in 19th centaury.


    Although I’m not so sure these scientists corrected well for sleep deficits (less sleep = worse reaction times) that we suffer today – Victorians slept 9h per day back then. Other factors that can make reaction times worse (higher) are things like garlic or alcohol. Perhaps we also have too weak muscles – a reaction time is sum of both brain and movement latencies.

    Anyway, even if it was was valid in the past – Flynn Effect is now in reverse for sure.


    “The IQ of 14-year-old British teenagers that was measured by Raven’s progressive matrices dropped by 2 points since 1980. Among the upper half of the scale, the results were much more staggering: the IQ dropped by 6 points from where it was in 1980.”

    But some of us do have much higher IQ than our grandparents – it’s due to the fact that our grandparents were marrying in a way limited by geography – to the people from their village or the neighbouring one, while we have this assortative mating where people in universities marry people in universities – thus both increasing the density of intelligence genes as well as providing better intellectual environments for their children.

    Going back to the presentation – it was about the wonders of abstract thinking. Unfortunately abstract thinking has its downsides – it’s basically a part of aging process, making thinking less useful.


  7. LeonRover says:

    What she said.


  8. Yep. And she should know.

  9. bornagain says:

    @doogie. funny about the traffic huh. wellnessmama.com has gone from a 100,000 global to a 15,000 global site over the same time.

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