Western IQs Drop By 14 Points in Last Century, Study Says
IT’S NOT JUST YOU. People really are getting dumber, according to a new study.
Research published online in the journal Intelligence on Thursday claims the IQ of people in Western nations has fallen by an average of 14.1 points over the past century.
Scientists in Europe used visual response times recorded in Western studies from 1889 to 2004.
The idea is, the faster a person reacts, the smarter you supposedly are.
“Simple reaction time measures correlate substantially with measures of general intelligence and are considered elementary measures of cognition,” wrote researchers Michael A. Woodleya of Vrije Universiteit in Brussels, Jan te Nijenhuisc of the University of Amsterdam and Raegan Murphy of the University College Cork in Ireland.
Their findings showed a decline in general intelligence of 1.23 points per decade.
So why are we supposedly getting dumber?
Previous research has found that women of higher intelligence are having fewer children, meaning women of lower intelligence are driving population growth, according to the study.
Over time, experts say, that would affect the average IQ of a population.
Were the Victorians cleverer than us? The decline in general intelligence estimated from a meta-analysis of the slowing of simple reaction time
- Simple reaction time has slowed since 1889
- Psychometric meta-analysis reveals a decline in g of -1.16 points per decade
- The decline between 1889 and 2004 is -13.35 points
- The decline between 1889 and 2004 is -12.24 points
- This is the first direct measurement of a probable dysgenic trend in IQ
The Victorian era was marked by an explosion of innovation and genius, per capita rates of which appear to have declined subsequently. The presence of dysgenic fertility for IQ amongst Western nations, starting in the 19th century, suggests that these trends might be related to declining IQ. This is because high-IQ people are more productive and more creative. We tested the hypothesis that the Victorians were cleverer than modern populations, using high-quality instruments, namely measures of simple visual reaction time in a meta-analytic study. Simple reaction time measures correlate substantially with measures of general intelligence (g) and are considered elementary measures of cognition. In this study we used the data on the secular slowing of simple reaction time described in a meta-analysis of 14 age-matched studies from Western countries conducted between 1889 and 2004 to estimate the decline in g that may have resulted from the presence of dysgenic fertility. Using psychometric meta-analysis we computed the true correlation between simple reaction time and g, yielding a decline of − 1.16 IQ points per decade or − 13.35 IQ points since Victorian times. These findings strongly indicate that with respect to g the Victorians were substantially cleverer than modern Western populations.
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