Tag Archives: Flynn

A New Look at Old Intelligence Tests

James FlynnMalcolm Gladwell, best known for his books Blink and The Tipping Point, has just published an article in The New Yorker about the Flynn Effect and how it may undermine many of the assumptions that ground the past century of intelligence testing. Named after New Zealander James Flynn, the “effect” shows that IQ test scores have steadily risen worldwide at the rate of about 3 points per decade. The effect is masked, however, by the fact that IQ tests are periodically re-normed (i.e., made more difficult) to keep the average score at 100. If Flynn is right, this means that our grandparents, on average, had IQ scores nearly 20 points (!) below our own. Interestingly, however, the apparent gains aren’t the same across all intelligence domains. Math, verbal skills, and general knowledge rise the least. Continue reading A New Look at Old Intelligence Tests