Average IQ is 7 IQ points less each century
We’ve often heard (and probably more than likely due to improvements in social conditions like public health nutrition and education in wealthy nations), that IQ scores have been rising by about 3 points every decade.
Unfortunately, that’s no longer true.
Maybe that’s down to the increase in cheap but poor convenience-food consumed and an overconsumption of sugar (the baddest guy of all bad guys!) (And before you jump on me, not meaning to be sexist at all, but merely using a careless expression from the early days of black-and-white cowboy films.)
While there are all varieties of controversy around the subject, researchers have allowed for the changes to IQ tests over time, focusing instead on the questions that measure short-term memory and those that assess working memory (how well you can hold information in your head in order to use it to process, reason and make decisions).
The current thinking is the age of the people whose IQ tests they’re comparing has skewed the results somewhat. The more recent data include more older people.
What they found was that short-term memory scores continue to rise in line with what they call the Flynn Effect i.e. the social improvements. But our working memory declines with age, regardless of circumstances.
Remember, we’re talking average for the population. I’m not casting nasturtiums here!
But is there anyone among us who can say they’ve never had a ‘senior moment’?
And is there anyone among us who hasn’t noticed it can take longer for the penny to drop these days? Or that their reaction times have slowed?
Apparently, it’s too early to draw conclusions.
Don’t jump the gun they say.
Not even slowly! 🙂