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Researchers find IQ scores dropping since the 1970s

IQ intelligence dumb dumbocracy idiocracy flynn effect trend trends

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#1
wjfox

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Researchers find IQ scores dropping since the 1970s

 

June 12, 2018

 

A pair of researchers with the Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research in Norway has found that IQ test scores have been slowly dropping over the past several decades. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Bernt Bratsberg and Ole Rogeberg describe their study and the results they found. They also offer some possible explanations for their findings.

Prior studies have shown that people grew smarter over the first part of last century, as measured by the intelligence quotient—a trend that was dubbed the Flynn effect. Various theories have been proposed to explain this apparent brightening of the human mind, such as better nutrition, health care, education, etc, all factors that might help people grow into smarter adults than they would have otherwise. But, now, according to the researchers in Norway, that trend has ended. Instead of getting smarter, humans have started getting dumber.

The study by the team consisted of analyzing IQ test results from young men entering Norway's national service (compulsory military duty) during the years 1970 to 2009. In all, 730,000 test results were accounted for. In studying the data, the researchers found that scores declined by an average of seven points per generation, a clear reversal of test results going back approximately 70 years.

 

https://medicalxpres...ores-1970s.html

 



#2
Alislaws

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Could it be to do with what IQ tests test?

 

As an example, if there is a significant memory component to the testing, then a modern person, who has had a phone in their pocket their whole life which can tell them anything they need to know, would likely have less developed memory skills than someone born in the 50s?


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#3
Outlook

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It's entertainment addiction!

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#4
Raklian

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We've been outsourcing our intelligence to computing. We know that.

 

The question is... are we overall more intelligent when we use our computing tools in conjunction?


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What are you without the sum of your parts?

#5
caltrek

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We've been outsourcing our intelligence to computing. We know that.

 

The question is... are we overall more intelligent when we use our computing tools in conjunction?

 

 

I think a lot depends on whether we actually use our computing tools to solve problems or just allow such computers to solve problems for us.

 

Consider check out stands.  How any store clerks are rendered helpless if their cash registers malfunction and no longer tabulate purchases and calculate sales tax? 

 

This question is not meant to discuss wheter such clerks can operate as fast as calculators, but whether they even understand the basic concepts.

 

I am also reminded of my high school math teacher. He was asked if providing calculators to students would lessen their math skills.  He replied something like "well calculators are useful in calculating the square roots of irrational numbers in complex polynomials." 

 

That stopped the interviewer dead in his tracks.  The reporter was big enough to turn the story in and let that part of the interview air on the local news. 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#6
bgates276

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There is an apparent paradox in IQ research. Some have said that IQ's have been rising over the past century (due to the Flynn effect), whereas others have said that it has been declining. To resolve this apparent contradiction, it is necessary to distinguish between genotypic and phenotypic IQ. So the answer, is that the quality of the gene pool has actually deteriorated over the past century (genotypic IQ), but the manifestation of it in people (phenotypic IQ) has been on the increase, due to improved nutrition and an overall standard of living. This is true to such an extent, that the phenotypic IQ has, at least for a while, been able to mask the dysgenic effects in the overall population. 

 

This really doesn't surprise me, due to the emergence of the welfare state and other social programs which have led to not so selective of breeding practices. Before the welfare state, it was only the really smart people who ended up having lots of children.


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#7
starspawn0

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This study perfectly aligns with other work showing that IQ scores in certain

 

NORDIC COUNTRIES

 

is declining, while still increasing in other parts of the world.  

 

This has been known for some time now.


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#8
caltrek

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@bgates,

 

Oh, that is a bunch of BS.  The gene pool has not risen in size substantially in that period.  Such a rise would have to be due to mutations.  There have been very few mutations in the last century, or at least that is my presumption.

 

What is different is how already existing genes are combined.  Certain combinations may result in higher IQs than other combinations. So that would say nothing about intelligence across broad categories such as race or ethnicity.  Unless you want to argue the Africans are likely to have superior intelligence because the diversity of their gene pool is greater.  

 

While we are discussing ideas of dubious validity. Here is another one: that intelligence is dropping because higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have a negative effect on human intelligence. 

 

 

Edit:  When I mean very few mutations, I of course mean those that benefited humans and helped them to improve their survival chances, and not those that caused conditions similar to what we would call "cancer".


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#9
starspawn0

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Shifting education standards could be to blame for the drop.  It is well-known that each additional year of school -- including higher education -- adds a few points to someone's IQ score.  (It maybe adds less to people at the upper ranges.)  And perhaps changes in education can sometimes reduce the score -- e.g. less classroom meeting time; less rigorous curriculum; over use of calculators and search engines.
 
https://www.ncbi.nlm...les/PMC4445388/
 

Education was associated with an average increase of 2.7 points per year on the Armed Forces Qualifying Test, taken in the late teens or early twenties. This number was broadly concurrent with a later study by Falch and Sandgren Massih (2011) that analyzed data from the Malmö Longitudinal Study (initial n = 1,547). They found that, controlling for ability at age 10, education improved IQ, measured on a test designed to be similar to the early measure, by 2.9 to 3.5 points per year by age 20.

....

Using two alternative econometric analyses (difference-in-difference and instrumental variables) on a sample of over 100,000 individuals, Brinch and Galloway (2012) estimated the benefit of 1 year of schooling at 3.7 IQ points on average.


As to the genetic influence on differences in IQ, a few genes have been identified; but the studies are mostly correlational -- the causal effects aren't completely understood.

Twin studies show that even identical twins can differ by 20 IQ points or more, perhaps due to environmental effects or due to "random wiring" at birth (genes don't give an exact blueprint for what all the neurons are supposed to do, and exactly how they should fit together.)

As I recall, in one study the standard deviation in IQ among identical twins is about half that for random pairs of people from the population. This has been used to argue that epigenetics has only a small effect. However, it was recently discovered -- much to the surprise of scientists -- that the epigenome of identical twins is identical, or nearly identical, at birth. This makes it difficult to separate genetic effects from epigenetic ones:

https://cosmosmagazi...supersimilarity
 

The epigenetic variation at MEs is determined randomly and is influenced by many environmental factors, ranging from the nutritional breakdown of the mother’s diet to the season. Consequently, it was expected that levels of epigenetic similarities and differences for MEs would be similar for both identical and fraternal, or non-identical, twins.

What they found was something of a shock.

Their research, published in Genome Biology, shows that monozygotic twins have identical epigenetics at MEs. “We found that the methylation patterns matched almost perfectly in identical twins, a degree of similarity that could not be explained by the twins sharing the same DNA,” says Waterland. “We call this phenomenon 'epigenetic supersimilarity.'”


One last thing worth pointing out, about genes for intelligence:

https://www.nytimes....telligence.html
 

But other gene studies have shown that variants in one population can fail to predict what people are like in other populations. Different variants turn out to be important in different groups, and this may well be the case with intelligence.

“If you try to predict height using the genes we’ve identified in Europeans in Africans, you’d predict all Africans are five inches shorter than Europeans, which isn’t true,” Dr. Posthuma said.


This is the same problem faced by Machine Learning practitioners, where a model does very well on media taken from a specific distribution, but does very poorly if you apply it to data from a slightly different one.



#10
bgates276

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@bgates,

 

Oh, that is a bunch of BS.  The gene pool has not risen in size substantially in that period.  Such a rise would have to be due to mutations.  There have been very few mutations in the last century, or at least that is my presumption.

 

What is different is how already existing genes are combined.  Certain combinations may result in higher IQs than other combinations. So that would say nothing about intelligence across broad categories such as race or ethnicity.  Unless you want to argue the Africans are likely to have superior intelligence because the diversity of their gene pool is greater.  

 

While we are discussing ideas of dubious validity. Here is another one: that intelligence is dropping because higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have a negative effect on human intelligence. 

 

 

I never mentioned anything about race, but since we are on the topic of that, it's more than likely that the quality of the gene pool has been declining in America for several groups, including white people. I've also seen that the child illegitimacy rate has increased by a fair amount, even for East Asian's living in America, who traditionally have had quite stable of family units. 

 

These wern't my arguments either. Richard Lynn, Phd from University of Cambridge and IQ expert, discusses these issues in some of his academic work. Although he does discuss race, this is only within a wider framework of psychometrics and populations. 



#11
Alislaws

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Well, if the Wikipedia entry on him isn't complete lies, he's clearly pushing a eugenics agenda as hard as he can. 

 

I get that his research and conclusions are exactly the kind of thing a lot of people wouldn't want to hear and would look for reasons to object to, but the fact that even knowing that his work would be put under the microscope by people with an interest in disproving it, he still seems to have made extensive use of flawed data in trying to prove his theories, seems like a really bad sign to me.

 

 

In IQ and the Wealth of Nations (2002), Lynn and Vanhanen argued that differences in nations' per capita gross domestic product (GDP) are partially caused by IQ differences, meaning that certain nations are wealthier in part, because their citizens are more intelligent.[54][55] K Richardson wrote in the journal Heredity that "an association between IQ and national wealth is hardly surprising, though its causal direction is the opposite of that assumed by L&V. But I would not take the 'evidence' presented in this book to serve arguments either way."[55] Other economists who reviewed the book also pointed to numerous flaws throughout the study, from unreliable IQ statistics for 81 of the 185 countries used in the analysis,[56] to insecure estimates of the national IQ in the remaining 101 countries in the sample that did not have published IQ data.[57] This was in addition to the highly unreliable GDP estimates for present-day developing countries[55] and the even more unreliable historical data estimating GDP and national IQ dating back to the early 19th century, well before either concept even existed.[55][57] Even the data on the 81 countries where direct evidence of IQ scores were actually available were highly problematic. For example, the data sets containing Surinamese, Ethiopian, and Mexican IQ scores were based on unrepresentative samples of children who had emigrated from their nation of birth to the Netherlands, Israel, and Argentina, respectively.[6] In a book review for the Journal of Economic Literature, economist Thomas Nechyba wrote, "Such sweeping conclusions based on relatively weak statistical evidence and dubious presumptions seem misguided at best and quite dangerous if taken seriously. It is therefore difficult to find much to recommend in this book."[54]

 

 

​EDIT: Wow, up to the end of the article I figured he was mostly a scientist with some unpopular conclusions, possibly influenced by his own personal biases but:

 

 

"What is called for here is not genocide, the killing off of the population of incompetent cultures. But we do need to think realistically in terms of the ‘phasing out’ of such peoples...Evolutionary progress means the extinction of the less competent. To think otherwise is mere sentimentality."[

 

I think the only solution lies in the breakup of the United States. Blacks and Hispanics are concentrated in the Southwest, the Southeast and the East, but the Northwest and the far Northeast, Maine, Vermont and upstate New York have a large predominance of whites. I believe these predominantly white states should declare independence and secede from the Union. They would then enforce strict border controls and provide minimum welfare, which would be limited to citizens. If this were done, white civilization would survive within this handful of states."

​It would be fun to see his second idea happen though! I'm pretty sure the rest of the USA would out perform his little white supremacist fantasy nation pretty heavily.


Edited by Alislaws, 13 June 2018 - 05:57 PM.

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#12
funkervogt

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There is an apparent paradox in IQ research. Some have said that IQ's have been rising over the past century (due to the Flynn effect), whereas others have said that it has been declining. To resolve this apparent contradiction, it is necessary to distinguish between genotypic and phenotypic IQ. So the answer, is that the quality of the gene pool has actually deteriorated over the past century (genotypic IQ), but the manifestation of it in people (phenotypic IQ) has been on the increase, due to improved nutrition and an overall standard of living. This is true to such an extent, that the phenotypic IQ has, at least for a while, been able to mask the dysgenic effects in the overall population. 

 

This really doesn't surprise me, due to the emergence of the welfare state and other social programs which have led to not so selective of breeding practices. Before the welfare state, it was only the really smart people who ended up having lots of children.

You beat me to it and took the words out of my mouth.



#13
starspawn0

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I would think welfare would have the opposite effect, depending on the kind used.  It would encourage families to stay together, which reduces single parent families and birthrate.

 

Furthermore, the birth rate in Norway is rapidly declining, and a part is probably due to poor families on welfare having fewer kids.  If so, then what is the cause?



#14
tomasth

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If there is a genetic intelligence component , that is identifiable its a human right in government sponsored duty to make sure every human born there , has the highest genetic component possible. Same as prevention of down syndrome.

 

Whene technologically possible , anyone without that highest genetic component ought to be geneticy cured. (assuming no side effects outweighing that).

 

For the poeple that were on the low end of the average before , or the higher one after ; the research make no difference.



#15
starspawn0

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https://www.brooking...the-family-cap/
 

This analysis exploits the variation across states in the timing of policy implementation to determine if family cap policies lead to a reduction in births to women ages 15 to 34. Vital statistics birth data for the years 1989 to 1998 offer no such evidence. The data reject a decline in births of more than one percent. The finding is robust to multiple specification checks. The data also reject large declines in higher-order births among demographic groups with high welfare participation rates.



#16
TranscendingGod

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So the experts talk about potential environmental causes but our resident geneticists (SARCASM)  talk about "dysgenic effects". Fuck me.


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The growth of computation is doubly exponential growth. 


#17
Erowind

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Outside of this being only representative or Nordic cultures I'm curios to see what results are external to the tested population. Military recruits don't represent the whole population. Actually please run that experiment, I'd love some empiricism to throw around about how the military takes advantage of the lowest common denomoninator of the population.

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#18
Maximus

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Outside of this being only representative or Nordic cultures I'm curios to see what results are external to the tested population. Military recruits don't represent the whole population. Actually please run that experiment, I'd love some empiricism to throw around about how the military takes advantage of the lowest common denomoninator of the population.

They're conscripts, not recruits. The military isn't really going around hunting for the "lowest common denominator", rather the entire male population is subject to military service. This means it's actually a fairly random sample which means it can be taken to reasonably accurately represent all young Norwegian males, so at the very least it represents half the population. You're absolutely right though in criticising that this completely discounts females, and of course, Norway isn't the entire world.


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#19
Sciencerocks

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Humanity seems to be going straight to hell.

1. Lower iq's

and 2. Sperm number going down

 

Wouldn't surprise me if our species has poisoned its self in some way and is on its way out.



#20
Erowind

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Outside of this being only representative or Nordic cultures I'm curios to see what results are external to the tested population. Military recruits don't represent the whole population. Actually please run that experiment, I'd love some empiricism to throw around about how the military takes advantage of the lowest common denomoninator of the population.

They're conscripts, not recruits. The military isn't really going around hunting for the "lowest common denominator", rather the entire male population is subject to military service. This means it's actually a fairly random sample which means it can be taken to reasonably accurately represent all young Norwegian males, so at the very least it represents half the population. You're absolutely right though in criticising that this completely discounts females, and of course, Norway isn't the entire world.

 

 

I wasn't aware service in Norway was mandatory. That comment was based off assuming the service was voluntary like here in the US, which is wrong.


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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: IQ, intelligence, dumb, dumbocracy, idiocracy, flynn effect, trend, trends

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