It’s true that we are more technology-savvy today, however, we must acknowledge that humans on the whole are getting dumber. As per scientists there are clear-cut evidences that show that IQs of people in the UK, Denmark and Australia have dropped in the last 10 years. There is a debate going on whether the trend is long-term —- but as per some researchers humans have already hit intellectual peak. An IQ test was done on Danish men to see if they were fit to serve in the military; it revealed that scores have dropped by 1.5 points since 1998.
And standard tests released in the UK and Australia replicate the results, as per journalist Bob Holmes, writing in New Scientist. The most despondent explanation as to why humans look to be becoming less sharp is that we have effectively hit our intellectual peak. In the period from 1930s through 1980s the average IQ score in the US soared three points and in post-war Japan and Denmark, test scores too climbed remarkably — a trend called as the ‘Flynn effect’. This rise in intelligence was as a result of better nutrition and living conditions — plus better education — opines James Flynn of the University of Otago, after whom the effect is named.
As per experts a new trend has emerged —- the Flynn effect is dying-out in developed countries – and the IQ scores have not just levelled out, but nose-dived. Scientists including Dr Flynn feel better education can turn the trend other way around, and point out the identified decline could just be a minor shock. However, some scientists are not so positive. Scientists feel the Flynn effect has camouflaged a decline in the genetic basis for intelligence — means more people are getting to their full potential, however, that potential itself is waning.
Richard Lynn, a psychologist at the University of Ulster, measured the fall in humans’ genetic potential. He employed data on average IQs around the world in 1950 and 2000 to find that our aggregate intelligence has declined by one IQ point. Dr Lynn forecasts that if this trend is persistent, we could lose another 1.3 IQ points by 2050. As per Jan te Nijenhuis a psychology professor at the University of Amsterdam westerners have suffered a loss of 14 IQ points since the Victoria Era. He feels the loss is a result of more intelligent women having fewer children than those who are less clever.
ARE BRITISH TEENAGERS BECOMING LESS INTELLIGENT?
Tests done in 1980 and in 2008 pointed out that the average 14-year-old was two IQ points cleverer in 1980, as per a study published in 2009. Scientists discovered that performance fell the most severely in teenagers in the upper half of the intelligence scale. Brighter teens who participated in the study in 2008 were on average six IQ points less intelligent than their peers tested 28 years earlier.
Professor Fynn said the results could be the consequence of less intelligent youth culture.
He employed data collected in IQ tests on UK children and discovered that children in the age-group of five and 10 saw their IQs climb by half a point per year across three decades. ‘Other studies have shown how pervasive teenage youth culture is, and what we see is parents’ influence on IQ slowly diminishing with age,’ he said. He deduced that youth culture today is more aligned around computer games than reading and holding conversations.