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Asociația ÎNVAȚĂ

SĂ ZBORI

COMUNITATE EDUCAȚIONALĂ

Are Humans Getting Smarter or
Dumber?

What, if anything, is happening to humanity's brainpower?

Is humanity getting smarter or dumber with time? The answer may be both.

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Florian Colceag ©2010 - 2016. Toate drepturile rezervate.
Orice utilizare publică, integrală sau parțială, a prezentului material este interzisă, în lipsa acordului scris al Prof. Florian Colceag.

2016. Flynn and his colleagues have found that all around the world. the new generations score higher on the old tests than the original test takers did. more schooling and more stimulation could also explain the Flynn effect. either — they vary by geography. Better nutrition. IQ is part heritable and part environmental. It's called the Flynn effect. or intelligence quotient. is another hint that humans are getting smarter. The findings aren't without controversy — particularly whether or not the measurements used really reveal intelligence. to see the Flynn effect." said Michael Woodley. [Creative Genius: The World's Greatest Minds] Flynn and many other researchers suspect that rising IQ scores reflect improving modern environments. What makes a person clever on the African Savannah could be nearly useless in the financial centers of Hong Kong. Beyond these technological advances. humans' underlying genetic potential for smarts could be on the decline.Asociația ÎNVAȚĂ SĂ ZBORI COMUNITATE EDUCAȚIONALĂ While IQ scores are rising at a remarkable rate. though. The research found that by one measure of intelligence." [Life's Extremes: Smart vs. "Different parts of intelligence could be changing in lots of different ways. scientists have their volunteers take tests designed for previous generations. tests have been revised and standardized several times in the past 100 years. în lipsa acordului scris al Prof. The increases are no small matter. a prezentului material este interzisă. a new study suggests. If you asked someone in the 19th century the relationship between a dog and a hare. an emeritus professor of the University of Otago in New Zealand. named after intelligence researcher James Flynn. the Victorians had modern folk beat. Heart transplants. and they'll have a higher IQ later in life. a psychologist at Umea University in Sweden who led the new research. "It's not simply that intelligence is going down or going up. the study highlights the trouble with measuring intelligence over time: Smarts aren't defined as just one thing. integrală sau parțială. Toate drepturile rezervate. Dumb] Are you smarter than your grandma? The world is full of evidence that modern humans have more going on upstairs than their ancestors did: Smartphones. Still. enrich a young child's environment with opportunities to learn. . A basic understanding that germs cause diseases. Since IQ. So could the kind of thinking that people do today. but tend to be around three extra IQ points per decade. they'd likely go with something Pagina 2 din 6 Florian Colceag ©2010 . Orice utilizare publică. Florian Colceag.

all of humanity has sustained at least two mutations harmful to these intellect-determining genes (and will sustain a couple more in another 3. In November 2012. people who are more intelligenthave fewer babies. . "The dog hunts the hare" might be a typical response. Crabtree calculated that within the last 3. based on their real-life experience with the two animals." Woodley said. Since the mid-1800s.Asociația ÎNVAȚĂ SĂ ZBORI COMUNITATE EDUCAȚIONALĂ concrete. Florian Colceag. Crabtree wrote. A modern person would be more likely to say that both dogs and hares are mammals. Orice utilizare publică. they say. Because intelligence is part genetic. Crabtree wrote. creating a paradox for the dysgenic mating theory. At the rate at which genetic mutations accumulate. Not every mutation will cause harm — genes come in pairs. They'regetting stupider. and some weaknesses caused by mutation can be covered for by the healthy half of the pair. Today. About 2. for example. Instead. he argued. failing to grasp the aerodynamics of throwing a spear when a lion was coming at you meant you were toast — no more passing along your genes to offspring. Crabtree based this assertion on genetics.000 years). Pagina 3 din 6 Florian Colceag ©2010 . studies have found. Thousands of years ago.000 to 5. [10 Things That Make Humans Special] Another theory holds that humanity's genetic capacity for intelligence is in decline because of a phenomenon called dysgenic mating. if anything.2016. IQ and reproduction have been negatively correlated. Woodley said. Toate drepturile rezervate.000 and 6. but the calculation suggests that intelligence is more fragile than it seems. people are taught to think more abstractly. To put it bluntly. Stanford University School of Medicine researcher Gerald Crabtree published two papers in the journal Trends in Genetics suggesting that humanity's intelligence peaked between 2. The dulling of humanity Even as the Flynn effect sends IQ scores skyrocketing. Furthermore. în lipsa acordului scris al Prof. Humans aren't getting smarter. IQs should be dropping. some researchers argue that. some researchers argue a darker view. "These sort of heuristics and modern habits of thought have changed the way people have approached answering IQ tests. intelligence isn't as evolutionarily important to humans today as it was when the species was hunter-gatherers. he estimated. scores are going up. a prezentului material este interzisă.000 genes control human intelligence. Modern man rarely faces such life-ordeath tests of wits.000 years. integrală sau parțială. Woodley said.000 years ago.

.Asociația ÎNVAȚĂ SĂ ZBORI COMUNITATE EDUCAȚIONALĂ Understanding an intelligence paradox Now. Galton's data also behaves as you might expect it to behave if it were correct." Woodley said. but to reaction time. în lipsa acordului scris al Prof. on the other hand. found an average reaction time for men of 250 ms and for women of 277 ms — markedly slower. [The 10 Best Ways to Keep Your Mind Sharp] In the 1880s.522 young men and 888 young women from a wide variety of socioeconomic statuses. Toate drepturile rezervate. Florian Colceag. Pagina 4 din 6 Florian Colceag ©2010 . For example. groups with more inbreeding performed worse on the reaction time test. Galton used a pendulum-based machine to time reactions.2016. Woodley said. (Galton's reaction time studies were part of his work as the founder of the field of eugenics." he said. Woodley said. including additional data and matching the old and new studies to be sure they were measuring the same things. who wanted to establish a "master race" of Aryans. "The idea is that reaction times represent your ability to engage in very basic and elementary cognitive processing.) Twelve similar studies to Galton's conducted after 1941. and such machines are generally accurate within 10 ms. Woodley is confident that Galton's measurements are accurate. and women's was 187 ms. and the news is not good. Orice utilizare publică. The new analysis was "crystal clear. most notably Adolf Hitler. A review study detailing those findings was published in The American Journal of Psychology in 2010. the idea that only the "best" should reproduce. a prezentului material este interzisă. Simple reaction time (the amount of time it takes to respond to a stimulus) is correlated with IQ. Eugenics was embraced by a variety of high-profile people in the early 1900s. To look back at historical intelligence. English scientist Sir Francis Galton measured reaction times in 2. He found that men's average reaction time to a stimulus was 183 milliseconds. Woodley said. Woodley and his colleagues expanded on the 2010 work. Despite the fact that timers have improved quite a bit since the 1880s. integrală sau parțială. the researchers turned not to IQ tests. and not nearly as sensitive to cultural influences as IQ tests. Woodley and his colleagues think they may have solved that paradox.

" said Theodore Nettelbeck. Possibilities range from exposure to neurotoxins in modern society to natural selection. all of which can influence the length of response. Woodley said. Nettelbeck also raised concerns about the various experiments analyzed in the new study and how comparable they might be." What that suggests is that even as IQ scores rise with education and health. toward slowing speeds of reaction. the Flynn effect might be hiding an underlying decline. however. referring to this idea that a high-quality environment may be masking the decline in "smart" genes. the reasons are unknown. Orice utilizare publică. very robust trend with time.Asociația ÎNVAȚĂ SĂ ZBORI COMUNITATE EDUCAȚIONALĂ "We found a very. Nettelbeck told LiveScience. Smarter or dumber? Not everyone sees the new reaction time findings as the final word. In other words. reaction times to complex stimuli might explain about 20 percent to 25 percent of the variation in IQs. there would also be procedural differences in the numbers of trials from which means [averages] have been derived. there is a reliable correlation between measures of reaction time and measures of IQ. "Not only would there be differences in the technologies for timing responses. he said. a "psychometric dark matter" not visible on pen-and-paper intelligence tests. but higher-quality fertilizers." he said. which may or not influence the outcome measures. the form of response keys.2016. In essence. instructions to participants. At best. ." he said. If true. the more culturally neutral. "To sum up 100 years of research. "An analogy to use would be lower-quality seeds. "which is consistent with the idea that the more stable." he said. a prezentului material este interzisă. în lipsa acordului scris al Prof. integrală sau parțială. and simple reaction times explain a lot less. the nature of stimuli. Florian Colceag. Toate drepturile rezervate. Pagina 5 din 6 Florian Colceag ©2010 . using reaction time as a proxy for IQ leaves something to be desired. but the order of such correlations is far short of what would be required to use the former to explain the latter. humanity's capacity to get smarter is shrinking. a psychologist at the University of Adelaide who researches intelligence. the more genetically influenced components of intelligence have been declining rather than increasing. extent of prior practice.

Pagina 6 din 6 Florian Colceag ©2010 . integrală sau parțială. Florian Colceag. their scores vary more widely than those of high-IQ people. "Is this really neural speed. environment seems to be trumping possible genetic problems.Asociația ÎNVAȚĂ SĂ ZBORI COMUNITATE EDUCAȚIONALĂ Reaction time can also be tricky to interpret. a prezentului material este interzisă. Norway and Sweden are exceptions to the rule that less educated. And with IQ scores still rising in most of the world. The good news is that even if Woodley and his colleagues are correct that the soil of the human mind is becoming less fertile. or for a dull person. for whom the Flynn effect is named. Other factors play a role as well. "A dull person has just as quick a peak reaction time as a brilliant person. Orice utilizare publică. ." Flynn told LiveScience.2016. Flynn said. [or] is it much more difficult for them to be attentive to the task?" Flynn said. lower-IQ people have more children. Flynn said. The difference is that someone with a low IQ typically can't stay focused and so their reaction times won't be consistent throughout an experiment. he added. Toate drepturile rezervate. Both countries have few class differences and makebirth control easily available. the species is not doomed to a slow decline into idiocy. In studies of schoolchildren. kids in Hong Kong are quicker off the mark in reaction time tests than British kids. You could read those results to mean Chinese kids are smarter than Britons. Or perhaps Chinese kids are just more willing to take risks. said James Flynn. în lipsa acordului scris al Prof.