“Why Have We Stopped Getting Smarter” is the subtitle of a an article in the NewScientist August 23 2014 titled “Dumbing Down.” I feel compelled to post about this article because it is a likely sign of the ending of, or perhaps even a reversal of, the Flynn Effect. I have written several posts on the Flynn Effect (type “Flynn Effect” into the healthymemory blog search box to find them.). The Flynn Effect is the increase in IQ scores that has been occurring over the past several decades. This has required the repeated re-norming of IQ tests so that the average remains at 100. Well that increase has now stopped and might even be reversing.
The New Scientist article goes into several explanations as to why this has happened. One of them is that smarte r people are having fewer children, so that dumber people are contributing more to the average wih the result that the average IQ has stopped increasing and might even have begun to decrease.. There seems to be a belief among some that we have stopped getting smarter and might even be dumbing down, hence the title and subtitle of the article.
This is ironic because Flynn himself used the effect to argue that IQ tests were not accurately measuring intelligence. He argued that had there been true increases in intelligence, society would have advanced much more than it has, and would be in much less trouble than it is in. So I think he would also argue that the end and possible reversal of the Flynn Effect does not mean that we have stopped getting smarter or that we are dumbing down.
Knowing and believing one’s IQ score can be a problem. Those with high scores might reason that they do not need to learn or apply themselves because they are blessed with so much brain power. On the other hand, those who know and believe their low IQ scores might think that they lack sufficient brain power and concede defeat.
Of course readers of the healthymemory blog should believe that they should use whatever brain power they have to best advantage. Moreover, their goal should be to continue to learn and grow their cognitive capacity as long as they live. They should also know that neurogenesis provides for this growth as long as the maintain their physical health and grow the health of their memories by following some of the activities (there are way to many to follow them all) they find in the healthymemory blog.
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