For all the developments in technology one must think, indeed humans are getting smarter and the next generation is going to follow the famous Flynn Effect.
But guess what! That’s not the case in reality. Contradicting to this assumption, present generation is less smart than their predecessors. Test results suggest people in the UK, Denmark and Australia have become less intelligent in the past decade. Some studies have shown the average IQ of Westerners has plunged 10 points or more since Victorian times and others claim it will keep decreasing.
What is IQ?
An intelligence quotient is a total score derived from one of several standardized tests designed to assess human intelligence. When current IQ tests are developed, the median raw score of the norming sample is defined as IQ 100 and scores each standard deviation (SD) up or down are defined as 15 IQ points greater or less. By this definition, approximately two-thirds of the population scores between 85 and 115. About 5 percent of the population scores above 125, and 5 percent below 75. Average IQ of a person is between 90 and 110.
IQ scores have been shown to be associated with such factors as morbidity and mortality, parental social status, and, to a substantial degree, biological parental IQ. IQ scores are used for educational placement, assessment of intellectual disability, and evaluating job applicants. Even when students improve their scores on standardized tests, they do not always improve their cognitive abilities, such as memory, attention and speed.
The Flynn Effect
The Flynn effect is the increase in intelligence test scores measured in many parts of the world from roughly 1930 to the present day. Test score increases have been continuous and approximately linear from the earliest years of testing to the present. James R. Flynn, after whom this theory is named as Flynn effect, explained the reason for such rise to be better living conditions, education and healthcare.
Between the 1930s and 1980s, the average IQ score in the US rose by three points and in post-war Japan and Denmark, test scores also increased significantly. Although average IQ had increased throughout the latter half of the 20th century, over the past decade average has decreased. Experts believe the reason for this is that the humans have reached their Intellectual peak.
An IQ test used to determine whether Danish men are fit to serve in the military has revealed scores have fallen by 1.5 points since 1998. And standard tests issued in the UK and Australia is in sync with the decreasing levels.
Now some experts believe we are starting to see the end of the Flynn effect in developed countries and that IQ scores are not just levelling out, but declining. Scientists including Dr.Flynn think better education can reverse the trend and point out the perceived decline could just be a blip.
However, this decreasing trend is pertained more towards the developed countries, the developing and underdeveloped countries still have to reach the intellectual peak. Experts also have an opinion that that even if humans do become more stupid, better healthcare and technology will mean that all people will have fewer children and the ‘problem’ will regulate itself.