Flynn Finds Industrialized Societies are Getting Smarter
Kristof with an interesting column on how citizens of industrialized societies are getting smarter over time:
Before I get to the dreary budget debates in Washington, here’s a bright spot of good news: We’re getting smarter.
My readers are all above average. But if I ever had average readers, they would still be brilliant compared with Americans of a century ago.
The average American in the year 1900 had an I.Q. that by today’s standards would measure about 67. Since the traditional definition of mental retardation was an I.Q. of less than 70, that leads to the remarkable conclusion that a majority of Americans a century ago would count today as intellectually disabled.
The trend of rising intelligence is known as the “Flynn Effect,” named for James R. Flynn, the New Zealand scholar who pioneered this area of research. Countless other scholars worldwide have replicated his findings, and it is now accepted science — although there is still disagreement about its causes and significance.