Do you think the Flynn effect really means that your generation is more intelligent than your parents' generation?Do you think the Flynn effect really means that your generation is more...

Do you think the Flynn effect really means that your generation is more intelligent than your parents' generation?

Do you think the Flynn effect really means that your generation is more intelligent than your parents' generation?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There might be a couple of issues at play here. One of them is the basic idea that more children today attend school than in previous generations.  There is wider access to schooling and the propensity to score better on exams is quite real.  At the same time, I would say that the quality of instruction is much better now then at any other time.  This is not a judgment statement as much as it is a reflection of how much more we understand teaching and learning concepts now than at any other time.  There is a greater understanding of brain based research, teaching methodologies, best practices, as well as greater use of interventions to ensure that comprehension is more evident.  At the same time, there is greater use and access to technology that can help further understanding of key concepts.  Having said all of this, I think that the Flynn effect might help to explain greater gains on normative based assessments.  I am not sure that the idea of "intelligence," in its purest form, is explained.  There are greater strides being made by the younger generation in terms of test performance, but I am not sure that these can be nor should be the best markers for determining intelligence.  There are social conditions and realities that made consciousness much more perceptible in previous decades that the modern generation does not have to fully address.  Dealing with such conditions might also help explain different generational approaches to intelligence more than anything else.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have to agree with post 3. IQ tests are notoriously open to debate at whether they are in fact a true measure of intelligence. The whole concept of measuring intelligence implies that someone somewhere has to pick factors or elements that define intelligence. This is obviously open to massive debate, and so whether IQ tests actually mean anything is an important factor to consider. Likewise, because the IQ tests have been around now for a while, curriculums are going to be teaching the kind of skills and facts that you need to do well in them, producing higher results. I think it is rather arrogant to assume that our generation is becoming more intelligent when actually if we have a look at our world and what we are doing to it the reverse seems true.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't think that this phenomenon really does mean this.

First of all, I am very skeptical of the idea that IQ tests actually measure intelligence.  If I am right, then a rise in IQ, even if real, does not really equate with a rise in intelligence.

Second, I think that there is probably more of an emphasis today in schools on teaching the sorts of skills that are measured on IQ tests.  Kids today, therefore, are somewhat more trained to do well on this test than kids in the old days were.

So I don't think that the test score increases are likely to be real and even if they are, I don't think that they truly reflect intelligence levels.

kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that people today have a wider scope of learning just because mass communication in general has increased the speed and access to knowledge for many people. That said, as others have posted I am unsure as to whether this makes a generation more intelligent than the last. It seems that as we advance into wider and more complex spheres of knowledge we 'lose' skills and traditions as we go. I would say that subsequesnt generations have different intelligences, not more intelligence.

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with the posters. It seems unlikely that a whole generation could have a higher IQ. If it is true that our generation was better off than our parent's generation, then there are other factors at play. A higher SES means more exposure to quality education and materials that build knowledge. In addition, as someone mentioned technology helps increase our exposure to new knowledge. It also enables us to diagnose and make learning modifications easier.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

We are more intelligent in different ways, and the next generation is more intelligent in other ways.  For example, we are savvier than our parents in respect to our worldview.  Our lives have been shaped by the world around us and not the insular world of our parents.  Teenagers and young adults are savvier about technology, and how it can be used.  Teenagers know how to use social networks and technology to accomplish tasks in ways we don't understand.

lrwilliams eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have to agree with mwestwood, many teens today seem to lack the skills to think independently through some every day situations. I also would add that as generations progress there is more importance placed on education. My father lived during a time that young men routinely left school at about 8th grade and worked on family farms. I may be more educated than he was, but I doubt I will ever acquire the knowledge he had.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In concurrence with others, the exposure to varied stimuli and beter nutrition that the very young have nowadays seems to contribute to their abilities to score well on tests that measure intelligence.  But, observation of young people in a myriad of circumstances and environments offers little proof that they can think analytically or independently better than the generations before them.

rskardal eNotes educator| Certified Educator

My understanding is that the Flynn effect has been linked to an inscrease in nutrition. People are also more uniformly educated. It should also be noted that new generations tend to return to a mean level of intelligence. In other words, a low scoring couple could give birth to a high scoring child, or vice versa.

giorgiana1976 | Student

IQ tests are a sensible subject for some, because in someway, they are antithetical to the altered ego of the owners of the great mindes, and they are exciting for others, such as researchers who have dedicated their lives to determine the optimal form of testing.

Goddard translated Binet's tests and applied them to his students, reaching to classify them according to three categories: normal, idiots and imbeciles.

While Goddard was convinced of the accuracy of this test, Lewis M. Terman, who also believed that intelligence is inherited and fixed, has devoted much time to study the Binet-Simon Scale. As a result, in 1916 Terman published his "Revision of the Stanford Binet-Simon Scale of Intelligence (known as" Stanford-Binet "). This became the standard IQ test, that it was taken, for decades, in education systems worldwide.

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question