Flynn effect fluctuation

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I am sure that all of us are aware of the Flynn effect seeing as we all learned about it in chapter 9. The Flynn effect is finding that average IQ scores have been rising at a rate of approximately three points per decade and that on average our IQ's are 10-15 points higher than those of our grandparents. This is pretty amazing huh? Psychologists have proposed some explanations...1) Increased test sophistication (better at taking tests) 2) Increased complexity of the modern world (technology) 3) Better nutrition (not suffering from malnutrition) 4) Changes at home and school (parents having less children hence devoting more time to the ones they have). These explanations seem pretty reasonable accept there is one problem, recent data suggests that the Flynn effect may be reversing or decreasing.

Why would the Flynn effect be decreasing? Well, I agree with three of the four explanations. Explanations 1,2,4 seem reasonable but I'm not sure I agree with explanation 3. Better nutrition you say? Last time I checked Americans were not healthy eaters at all. Americans today consume way to much sugar in their diet, not enough water, and not enough exercise (the majority). I can see how poor nutrition can cause a reverse Flynn effect. Poor nutrition with little exercise is not what the brain needs to perform at a maximum level. For the brain to grow in different areas it needs nutrients to feed off of. What we put into our body is what we get out of out body. Children sitting all day video gaming rather than playing with other children could also be the culprit. What other factors could contribute to the Flynn effect decreasing? Thoughts?


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In my opinion, among the four reasons, the first two reasons are the most supportive. Compared to the time of my grandfather's, tasks in modern life are much less complex mainly because of developed technology. In addition, the rapid development of the technology and great impact of it make people learn new things whenever they have come out.

I think the three reasons 1,2,4 play a larger role on a person's IQ than their diet. There have been plenty of not very physically fit people who were very intelligent. Also people in general are better educated now than they have been in past decades. With more people graduating high school and attending college than ever before IQ scores should go up.

You bring a very interesting concept. Creating this comment remembers me of the movie "Idiocracy". This movie believes that people are becoming more stupid, because intelligent people don't reproduce as fast as non intelligent people.

You can see this idea explain in this video:

I think another potential factor could be the fact that schools across the country are not pushing students as hard as they used to. I realize that some people are smarter than others, but that doesn't necessarily mean we should make dumb down classes for these students. They only way they are going to get better at school is if they are pushed a little bit harder. We live in a "feel good" society. As long as people feel good about themselves and are happy, everything is OK. I don't want to come off as an asshole, but that is not always the best solution. Many kids are happy when they don't have to work hard in school. If we make them happy in that respect, they are not growing as students. I realize that IQ is partly inherent, but practicing problems in school and stimulating students' brains isn't going to hurt.

A very good point was brought up in this blog. When reading about the Flynn Effect I too wondered how better nutrition was prevalent in IQ tests. And how are we considered to have better nutrition today compared to fifty years ago? Although this reason is most likely prevalent to the IQ decline in recent years, I do not believe it is the sole factor. There are many factors which could contribute to the IQ score decline. With the rise of autism in recent years, the children actually taking the test could be a factor, or as Kody said the motivation of kids in America today could be another major factor. All in all, I believe there is many factors involved in the decrease of IQ scores.

That is true that Americans tend to be overweight and do not know how to eat right. However, someone who is fed vs. someone who is struggling for food is different. The brain is getting nutrients from bad food. Whereas the brain wont get any from the child who doesn't eat regularly.

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This page contains a single entry by kraus550 published on April 26, 2012 6:38 PM.

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