Average IQ In US Declines For First Time In 100 Years
The findings indicate that IQ points decreased during the study period, though the researchers did not specify by how many points.
Recent studies stated that the average intelligence quotient (IQ) in the US has dropped for the first time in almost a century.
Researchers at Northwestern University and the University of Oregon examined the outcomes of 394,378 US adults who took online IQ tests between 2006 and 2018 to determine their level of intelligence.
The team was searching for any proof of the Flynn effect, which holds that an average population’s IQ appears to rise with each succeeding generation. IQ scores have “significantly increased since 1932 and throughout the 20th century, with differences ranging from 3.0 to 5.0 IQ points,” according to the study’s authors.
However, they discovered the opposite. Overall, the findings indicate that IQ points decreased during the study period, though the researchers did not specify by how many points. Although declines were observed in all age groups and genders, those with less education and younger participants (18 to 22) experienced the steepest declines.
From 2011 to 2018, scores on tests of 3D spatial reasoning increased, whereas scores on tests of verbal reasoning, visual problem-solving, and numerical series tests all decreased. The trend the researchers detected wasn’t specifically investigated by them. They did make the assumption that it might be related to modifications in US education, though.
“Our findings might point to a shift in educational quality or content as well as test-taking abilities within this sizable US sample.
Scores were lower for more recent participants across all educational levels, which may indicate either a decline in educational quality in this study’s sample or a change in how certain cognitive skills are valued “The authors of the study write about their analysis.
But the US is not alone. Several studies conducted in Europe over the past 20 years indicate that the Flynn effect has already stalled or is starting to reverse.
Research on Finns stated that the IQ scores dropped by 2 IQ points between 1997 and 2009, while in France, scores dropped by 3.8 IQ points between 1999 and 2009. Australia, the Netherlands, Australia, Norway, Denmark, the UK, and Sweden have all reported findings that are similar.
These complex trends cannot be explained by a single factor, despite the fact that some researchers contend environmental rather than genetic factors are at play. These environmental elements include things like education, diet, a decline in reading, and the development of technology.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that IQ scores aren’t exact indicators of intelligence when examining all these statistics. Because IQ tests only look at a small subset of abilities and because intelligence is too complex to be measured precisely, they draw a lot of criticism.
The vast majority of intelligence tests are fundamentally flawed because they do not account for the complexity of the human intellect, according to a 2012 study involving over 100,000 people.
According to their research, no single human characteristic, such as IQ, could account for all the variations in intelligence that test results revealed. This most recent study does still offer some food for thought in light of all of that.