Lately, most of my time is taken up reading for comprehensive exams. One of the topics I’m studying is intelligence. An interesting finding in this field is that raw IQ scores have been increasing over the last few decades; this is known as the “Flynn effect”, named after its main discoverer. There is some confusion over whether this is a superficial increase in IQ test scores, or a real increase in what they are meant to measure (i.e., intelligence). This leads to the following awesome quote from one of my books:
“Flynn argues that if the intergenerational gain in IQ scores were “real” (i.e. reflected g), the real-life consequences would be conspicuous. For example, the younger generation with average IQs would perceive their parents and grandparents as intellectually dull or borderline retarded. Flynn even suggests that baseball and cricket fans of two or three generations past wouldn’t have had enough intelligence to understand the rules of the game.”
I just find it hilarious to imagine every kid in the world coming to realize that their parents are dumber than they are. They’d get together in the playground and swap stories about how their dad couldn’t find Africa on a map, or their mom gave $30 as a 15% tip on a $100 restaurant bill. “I swear,” they’d say, “my parents are borderline retarded.” Then dad would take his son to the ball game, and be all like “Wha? Why’d he just swing at the ball with that there stick? Who’s them guys with the mitts? What’s going on, son?”, eating a hot dog and drooling the entire time.
But hey, maybe it’s not so far fetched. If 80s movies and South Park have taught me anything, it’s that kids are the only ones who really know what’s going on. If Dracula and the Wolfman tried to take over the world, it would be kids who would have to stop them, and not their cognitively challenged parents.
P.P.S. The quote is from Arthur Jensen’s “The g Factor”, p. 329.