On the other hand, here is part of an e-mail message I just received from a
Dear Dr Lewis,
I was missing 2 more points to get a B grade. There is anyway that
you would give me up a B, please. Because, I am getting scholoship next
semester. So would you very please. Thank you very much Dr. Lewis, U
I assume this is a student trying to make a good impression!
At 04:58 PM 5/30/98 -0700, you wrote:
>Here is an excerpt from a posting I made to the list October 14, 1995:
>> I just received my November Scientific American, and found a fascinating
>> article about the "Flynn effect" (page 12). "In the early 1980s, while
>> studying intelligence testing in the U.S. military, Flynn found that
>> recruits who were merely average when compared with their contemporaries
>> were above average when compared with recruites in a previous generation
>> who had taken exactly the same test.... Flynn found that scores on
>> virtually every type of IQ test - administered to military recruits and
>> to students of all ages - had risen roughly three points per decade since
>> they were first instituted in the U.S. Flynn learned that 20 other
>> countries for which sufficient data are available... showed similar
>> "The gains ranged from 10 points per generation, or 30 years, in Sweden
>> and Denmark to 20 points per generation in Israel and Belgium. The
>> upward surges tended to be greatest for tests that minimize cultural or
>> educational advantages by probing the ability to recognize abstract
>> patterns or solve other non-verbal problems. Flynn has recently analyzed
>> scores from Raven's Progressive Matrices, which is considered to be one
>> of the least 'culturally loaded' IQ tests. The birth dates of those
>> examined span a century, ranging from 1877 to 1977. Flynn concluded that
>> someone scoring in the 90th percentile 100 years ago would be in the
>> fifth percentile today."
>> That means that someone who was better on this test than 90% of people a
>> century ago would be worse than 95% of people today!
>> The article goes on to say that elderly people score poorly on IQ tests
>> not because they've gotten dumber as they get old, but because everyone
>> did so poorly on those tests when they were young.
>> Several explanations are rejected, among them that people today are more
>> experienced at test taking (fewer people take tests today than in some
>> past days), that it is a matter of more education (education hours have
>> fallen in some countries), that television is making people smarter (the
>> phenomenon long predates television), and that better nutrition and
>> medicine have improved health (studies have not found much correlation
>> between nutrition and IQ).
>I would not assume that people are stupider today than in the past, unless
>you have actually interviewed people who lived many decades ago.
Ralph Lewis, Professor of Management and Human Resources
College of Business
California State University, Long Beach
Long Beach, California