ability --- IQ

Ralph Lewis (rlewis@csulb.edu)
Sat, 30 May 1998 21:29:10 -0700

No question about that. 100 is the average IQ. However today the actual IQ
average is close to 103 to 104. The average IQ is going up.

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
really appreciate.

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
>> increases.
>> "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
rlewis@csulb.edu http://www.csulb.edu/~rlewis