Why our IQ levels are higher than our grandparents' | James Flynn

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In 1900, only 3% of Americans practiced professions that were deemed “cognitively demanding.” Today, 35% of us do, and we have all learned to be flexible in the way that we think about problems. In this fascinating and fast-paced spin through the cognitive history of the 20th century, moral philosopher James Flynn makes the case that changes in the way we think have had surprising (and not always positive) consequences.

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41 COMMENTS

  1. It is NOT in the Quran to kill your raped daughter…… And its disgusting that someone as educated as this man to say it as a fact!!

  2. so the raped daughter has to be killed? why is this idiot delivering this talk if he can't get his facts right?

  3. Imagine this progression getting so fast to the point that the most intelligent people on the world are all under ten years of age.

  4. Mankind has certainly become better in the theoretical & abstract areas. Unfortunately , there has been a marked loss in high end practical developments ; like going back to the Moon…. definitely better at pretending in cyberspace today… Also,
    James is so right , in that people being less wise , when it comes to Politics ; just take a look around you…

  5. nore avo god doen't know what his doing two logical attractions.. ender's shadow..etc…

  6. Hmmm, I found data, that IQ was growing till 1975. After this date it is decreasing (Norway, Uk). Could you confirm or deny it?

  7. Yesterday I also thought:
    "If most boomers today are narrow-minded, stupid, and holding society back from progressing forward, then just how horrible was it back when their grandparents were alive?"

  8. I didnt know "the colonels lady, and judy ogrady are sisters under the skin" was dickens.
    I have learnt the line was from Rudyard Kipling's poem The Ladies

  9. I think he is a satirist who set out to show that if you speak in the dulcet tones of a gifted 'storyteller' (who might be literally be anyone – from a professional narrator to n authority figure of any sort – politician, demagogue, whatever) you can get people to listen to and eve applaud any nonsensical set of propositions, complete with many INCONSISTENCIES within that set, as long as the audience you are addressing feels 'somewhat praised.'

  10. I read many good reviews on the net about how Rotogenflux Methods can assist you improve your IQ in a short period of time. Has any one tried this intelligence boost system?

  11. Why there is enormous increase in IQ from 19th to 21st century than 0 to 18th ?
    Movies and digital world. Movies were introduced around beginning of 19th century and most movies from then until now are hypothetical and drive us think the same way. Digital world allowed to see things that we can't imagine just by reading in our books.
    It's not education.

  12. We simply have more stimuli. A man's life in the 1500s consists of horses, wheat, etc. While a man's life in the 20th century consists of solving technical problems. Simply we have thoughts geared towards more technical things. Ex. A poor man has to think of financial survival, a billionaire thinks of how to go to Mars. How you survive is instrumental to where your thought process goes. Sorry I just drank a red bull, my thoughts are coming out like the exhaust from an old cars muffler lol.

  13. When I was living in USA about 10 years ago, I was so surprised by the little amount of foreign information media had to offer. Everything was about what happening in the country. I think it is better today with new alternative medias, like the internet. But for a very advanced country, I think it is still extremely little. Like when I was in Japan, medias and people were aware of foreign matters.

  14. I mean we might be smarter at technology and stuff but let’s be honest… society seems to be dropping in intelligence lol

  15. Flynn can use 100 words when only 6 are needed and never say anything worth hearing. I'm sorry I wasted 18 minutes watching this. I really don't believe he understands why students now score higher on IQ tests. (ACT and SAT's also.) If he does, he never got around to answering the question he asked to start with.
    It's not complicated. IQ and SAT tests are very similar. I'm old enough that the first time I ever heard of a SAT test was the day I walked into the class room and my teacher said "We're taking the SAT test today." Of course, we all wanted to know —- What's a SAT? Also, we only took the test one time. With the IQ test, at least most of us had heard there was such a thing. Now students study specifically for the tests for months if not years before they take it. Many (or all) take the test more than once. As reported in the New York Times "…on average, retaking the SAT improved scores by nearly 90 points." Of course they score better now.

  16. Does Rotogenflux Methods (google it) help me improve my intelligence? I see many people keep on talking about this iq course.

  17. He lost his credibility the moment he made an uninformed comment about Islam. He should show some intellectual honesty and read what Islam preaches before crafting such "abstractions". Or maybe he is aspiring to be a standup comedian rather than a researcher.

  18. If I found targets which over time showed better accuracy by shooters I would presume that either the people were practicing more… or the target was being moved closer. This analogous to IQ tests I would conclude either people are just getting more practice in those areas covered by IQ tests, or the IQ tests were different.

    A basic reading of ancient literature available to and read by common people, such as the Christian letters of Paul and John, then it would be apparent that they were capable of some quite complicated logic and analogies. Unless IQ dropped considerably during the reinassance or just before the industrial revolution before rising to the modern era, then one would presume the problem was with the IQ tests or culture itself.

  19. Yes, our IQs are going up. I believe that most schools and IQ tests have to catch up to where kids really are. Knowing this matters so that we can know the psychology and traits of having a high IQ – and to understand how we think and learn. Many children get into trouble or become depressed simply because they are bored and can't make themselves do schoolwork that doesn't suit them. Although someone like James Flynn would make an excellent elementary teacher.

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