Intelligence, a simple yet complex term, present in everyday, layman vocabulary and argued by the foremost minds of psychology. Intelligence is currently defined as capacity for goal directed, adapted behaviour (Myers, 2014). The definition has gone multiple revisions because we have changed our very understanding of intelligence, initially used to describe academic brilliance and rote memorization, the current definition encompasses more fields such as street smarts, word play, interpersonal interactions and abstract reasoning. Perhaps the most interesting factor of all is how intelligence changes from culture to culture; a good farmer is a genius in an agricultural society and a dullard in a technological one. Another challenge has been in the measurement, how do we measure how people think? Are people getting smarter? Faster? Are we going to be absolute morons compared to future generations? (Myers, 2014), (Folger, 2012)
Thirty years ago James R. Flynn made a surprising discovery; his research indicated that IQ scores have been on a continuous rise since the beginning of the 20th century, or more precisely increasing at a rate of .3 points a year or 3 points a decade. (Folger. 2012) This steady increase in IQ scores has been termed as the Flynn effect and there are a few interesting theories explaining it. Higher IQ scores have been recorded based on data from the standardized test WISC (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children), surprisingly the increase in IQ isn’t a general rise but rather a higher score in two subtests that focus on abstract reasoning, and thus an increase in abstract logic is cited as a reason for the Flynn effect. (Folger, 2012) Another possible explan...
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...creased intelligence test scores. (Folger, 2012)
In conclusion it is abundantly clear that each successive generation is a tiny bit smarter than its predecessor, this is explained by an intellect based society, a world that demands abstract logic and abilities, machines that need high perceptual and thinking speeds to interact with. On an average children score higher on intelligence tests as they have access to better nutrition, education and quality of life. This has changed my views on what influences intelligence, I have learnt that with proper control and implementation of factors that are responsible for the Flynn effect, that, yes we can definitely get smarter.
Folger, T. (2012). Can we keep getting smarter? Scientific American, 307(3), 44-47.
Myers, D. G. (2014). Exploring psychology: Ninth edition in modules. New York, NY:
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