Sunday, April 10, 2016

Smarter? Or Stupider? More Unsettled Science

The Flynn Effect: A Meta-analysis
The Flynn Effect has long been accepted. It says that general population IQ has increased at 0.3 points per annum, meaning 30 points increase over the past 100 years.

Now there is contrary evidence:
The decline in general intelligence estimated from a meta-analysis
This study claims that general IQ has decreased at the rate of -1.16 points per decade, or -11.6 points in the last century.

My guess is that both conclusions are trivial and without intellectual value. The very definition of intelligence changes over time, with various subcategories springing up, such as verbal, mathematical, mechanical aptitude, etc. And then these categories morph into something else. The second study, above, merely depends upon reaction time, which would put boxers and race drivers over engineers and professors, I would imagine.

Either way, the science - if you choose to allow it to be called such - is unsettled. And these conclusions are pretty much meaningless. Your observation of general intelligence is very likely as meaningful as either of these studies and their conclusions.

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