Re: Flynn Effect in SciAm

Michael S. Lorrey (
Mon, 21 Dec 1998 13:07:01 -0500

Max M wrote:

> From: Timothy Bates <>
> >Flynn argues that we cannot be more intelligent (he sees no signs of it)
> >and that therefore the tests are to be viewed as rather distant
> >indicators of general ability.
> >
> >There are a range of other interpretations, most simply, there are two
> >main alternatives.
> >
> >1. Average IQ HAS increased ...
> >
> >2. The tests have been made less valid as all children now have 7 years
> >of head start at macdonalds ...
> It could also be simply that since the IQ test has become the meassurement
> tool, the education system has been directed toward acheiving how to improve
> the scores in the IQ tests. The education has simply become more focused on
> teaching what is relevant for a high IQ-test score.

I don't think so. Having taken numerous IQ tests, which can depend on mathematical knowledge or not, IQ tests can be tailored to someone with absolutely no schooling at all (indeed, they have been used on dolphins, monkeys and dogs), so I don't think you can teach someone to do well on any IQ test. I do think that the shift in the schools from rote memorization to problem solving may have some bearing on the shift in IQ, as I tested at 128 IQ in kindergarten, but am now around 160. If the Flynn effect is exhibited in kindergarten age children I don't think that education has anything to do with it. If the effect is smaller than a high school graduate, then it may have an influence, but not the whole ball of wax.