I came across an article (Teasdale & Owen, 2000) which looked at trends in intelligence scores over the last few decades. As you may know, intelligence has been steadily going up over time. This study looked at a Danish population, to see if IQ is still going up. The graph above shows what they found. It’s not going up as much as it used to, except visuo-spatial abilities (working with shapes in your head), which continue to increase.
Why is this? The researchers guess: “..it is tempting to speculate that [...] it has been growing exposure to video games and geometrically configured computer screens via operating systems, applications programs and the Internet, that have particularly accelerated the development of visuo-spatial abilities during the last decade.”
So there you have it. Contrary to what some believe, video games are not responsible for the downfall of society; it’s the opposite. Video games are making everybody smarter. Parents: start your kids off on the right foot. Get those toddlers playing Grand Theft Auto right away.
This also gives me an idea for my Ph.D. dissertation: “Does Playing Video Games All Day for a Year Make People Smarter? A Self-Administered Case Study. By Mike.”
Here’s the full reference for the article I’m talking about:
Teasdale, T., & Owen, D. (2000). Forty-year secular trends in cognitive abilities. Intelligence, 28, 115 – 120.