Why our IQ levels are higher than our grandparents’ | James Flynn

Why our IQ levels are higher than our grandparents’ | James Flynn

Comments (100)

  1. Ah.. My response to "What do a bird and a fish have in common" was that they both are tasty… I didn't even think about both of them being animals. I think I'm plain retarded. It's a good feel, you should try it.

  2. It's so strange that he didn't say "Thank you" at the end.

  3. So how do we establish hypotehtical and logical thinking in those people who cannot yet think like that? Is our education system able to do that? Do we just have to school the kids and wait for 1-2 generations? Is that enough? What about the influence of the family? How does your own family shape your thinking? Can we overcome fundamentalism and the likes?

  4. Didn't get his last line.
    Dickens was right and he was wrong… what was the rest?

  5. All the things about the Islamist father make him not very different from his close-minded Irish father. WTF is this BS Ted?? Thanks a lot, anything else you'd like to blame on my religion, lemme know!

  6. "You cant do science without making it logically consistent" – tell that to all the gender courses out there masquerading as science 🙂

  7. The thing about the "Flynn Effect" is that there is really only Flynn who talks about it. Its really not a big deal.

  8. This is actually not true. Average IQ has been declining since the 1970s by roughly 3 points per year.

  9. did he just criticize pisslam publicly!!! I love him!!!

  10. Did nobody tell the old man that the Flynn effect reversed 30 years ago? We do not get any smarter anymore, the IQ got lower every ten years starting in the 80´s. Google "Flynn effect reversed" if you don´t believe me, everyone knows, except for this guy as it seems.

  11. iq does not mean you are physically smarter than anyone. cognitively we are all the same. it just means we are more knowledgeable in what the IQ quiz considers important. my grandfather is way smarter than me in so many subjects but none of those subjects are in math or English or science. but god damn can he paint, put together a table or chair from scratch, fix a car, build a house, grow a garden. etc etc. its amazing to hear his knowledge in the things he holds important.

  12. Quote

    Or imagine how different things would be

    if most Americans knew that we had been lied

    into four of our last six wars.

    You know, the Spanish didn't sink the battleship Maine,

    the Lusitania was not an innocent vessel

    but was loaded with munitions,

    the North Vietnamese did not attack the Seventh Fleet,

    and, of course, Saddam Hussein hated al Qaeda

    and had nothing to do with it,

    and yet the administration convinced 45 percent of the people

    that they were brothers in arms,

    when he would hang one from the nearest lamppost…

  13. Great talk.

    Wrong at the end – 'The colonel's lady and Judy O'Grady are sisters under the skin' is from a poem by Rudyard Kipling, not Dickens, but anyway.

  14. You can find studies that say the opposite. In my own experience. I would say that the average level of intelligence has fallen and not risen based on what I see around me, it's like we are living in some kind of lunatic asylum.

  15. Nothing is Islam compels anyone to take the life of a rape victim….

  16. Even as he states IQ has increased and my generation is more capable of abstract and hypothetical thinking, he still somehow managed to make me feel intellectually inferior. Damn brain, do better.

  17. I love the guy but disagree with his premise. I can't bear to read anything written after 1970. After 2010 most writing is almost unintelligible. The masses are no longer capable of linear thought.

  18. Another perfect example is religion. Anyone that seriously studies mythology and the history or religion in general will reject most if not all religious beliefs.

  19. What a stellar example of why academia today thinks they are the intellectual hierarchy of the universe. Surely no mere agrarian, who had to determine season conditions, soil type, best flora for the terrain, topography, time of sowing and harvest, how to survive and preserve food, live off the land including how to kill wild game and preserve it, incorporate livestock and how to sustain it, could possibly be as intelligent as the intellectual giants of today. Yes we, who without the aid of Starbucks, Wholefoods or an iphone, would be completely lost because no one can read a paper map either. Clearly, he has never popped open a McGuffy reader. College level by grade 6…or less. Roman Aqueducts…total waste of space. Cathedrals during the Middle Ages…intellectual and artisan blight. How partisan and undereducated can one be.

  20. What wisdom! What philosophy!

  21. More people need to be as intelligent and open minded as this man

  22. So I turned this on without watching, just listening, and his face was Walter Cronkite in my head.

  23. This further reinforces my belief that the world will improve when the older generations die off. Especially in politics.

  24. Ha! I know it, you fucking stupid sensors live in the past. We the intuitives are superior!

  25. what. i love history. history has always been one of my best subjects. im only 23…

  26. its like he is trying to philosophically justify empathy by saying not having it (as supposed to not listening to it) is unsmart

  27. Why are Liberals so (IQ) smart, but then so (morally) stupid ?

  28. imagine you were a Muslim and your whole religion was misunderstood because people who knew nothing of the Koran or the Sunna and have read neither would always speak as if they knew what they said to heart.

    around 13:30 in the video he talks of how Muslims kill their rapists if they were raped, and then implies it was said in the Koran, I am here to tell you that nowhere in the Koran are rape victims whether male or female considered tainted or are to be killed, all of the fault lies with the rapist, he says they are honor killings but in Islam honor is in protecting the weak and vulnerable not in killing them.
    I am able to provide proof should anyone ask for it but am unable to as I write this post.

  29. Our iq scores can't be higher, since they are graded on a bell curve. However, an iq score of 100 represents someone smarter than an iq of 100 did 100 years ago.

  30. This talked occurred before the stupidity bloom of 2014….millennials enter the work force….nah I’m kidding kinda

  31. Not everyone's . . .did you see who our president is? Courtesy of idiots who chose not to vote, voted third party, or voted for agent orange. Trust me, they must have been descended from the inbred population (as Steve King admitted). Also many of the mass murderers look like their mothers should have aborted them. products of inbreeding

  32. What an engaging speaker, brilliant!

  33. Incorrect, iq peaked in the early 2000s and now I'd say the average high school kid is half as intelligent as a kid from the 1950s.

  34. So, he is saying that we developed our potential of abstract thinking – and that this happened in the interaction with the ever more complex world?

  35. Yes your protect me with amazing information content and presentations

  36. Ted talks beautiful and blessed humans

  37. He sounds like an elder scar from lion king (the original)🤔

  38. I had to pause every 3 or 4 minutes to let his ideas sink in. How flawless, seamlessly he goes from one idea to another one is amazing. A well-organized mind, he has.

  39. This man should be in charge of University admissions boards.

  40. He didn't answer the question: Why?

  41. Yet the Americane elected the Dump as their POTUS in the last election, and their gradparents choice was better than them!

  42. “Were our grandparents mentally retarded?”


  43. Wow! weird concept to think about, I honestly have had debates with my grandparents about morals and using logic and hypotheticals never works. I never stopped to think that they don't think this way.

  44. Is this a radio commercial from the 40's?

  45. When HE talks about "our" intelligence he means the scientific community.

    The average person is getting more retarded every day because of social networks,poor diet,too much television,lack of exercise,lack of prayer,lack of education and other factors.

    The scientific community has indeed become more intelligent as these TED lectures prove.

  46. Interesting speech until he goes off topic with the political crap.

  47. "What, are our ancestors on the verge of mental retardation?"
    Looks at boomers
    I mean… am I supposed to say no?

  48. Simply Brilliant!

  49. James Flynn : Grand Wizard

  50. This begs the question of whether IQ tests measure intelligence? I don't accept the machine gun analogy. The target scores are a measure of the sophistication of machinery invented by boffins, not of skills of marksmanship. I accept that on average people receive more formal education and education aimed at a higher level of the Bloom taxonomy. I also believe skills can be aharpened by practice. But intelligence is innate and i do not believe one can pass learned skills (relevant, say, to IQ tests) to offspring, genetically. One can only pass on raw intellect (stuff having to do with ability to learn sophisticated concepts) embedded in one's own genetics. We have not been getting more intelligent.

  51. maybe you will like this video too:

  52. actually they are much much smarter, modern generation are imbeciles

  53. Understanding hypotheticals is all about Empathy.

  54. This thinking is very dangerous, Claming that we are smarter then those that came before us is not only short sighted but also flat out wrong. IQ tests are not a good measure for inteligence, they are more acuratly a measure of western city based indoctination and city socialisation. If you asked an iliterate farmer that runs a farm with live stock, fields growing crops and a cellar full of food for winter to do an IQ test they would score very badly but they are inteligent enough to self sustain over winter. Also the reason IQ scores have "gone up" is more likely due to urbanisation and morphic resonance (rupert sheldrake).

  55. Great food for thought. I am not sure all contemporary people have grasped the ability to think in the hypothetical, beyond the concrete. The ability to think about the hypothetical situation requires empathy. It seems too many people are proud of being unable to see things from someones else's perspective. White Supremacists, for example, have to equate other races to an inferior position. They have lived in a world where they have been exposed to seeing things in a hypothetical manner but instead convert things to the concrete.

  56. 13:10 these people aren't Islamists. They are wahhabi terrorists who violate every law in Islam.

  57. This man is genuinely very intelligent and sincere.

  58. I think an impressive part is that he only said "Uh" once in the 18:40 it took him to say all that he did.

  59. Huh…very good talk! Helps explain why my dad often discredited my ideas…it never occurred to me, way back then, that he simply couldn’t open his mind on some things…he was very similar to this guy, but stuck on some things… I remember, in the 1950’s, telling dad, “it sure looks like all the continents used to all fit together…now the continents are like puzzle pieces fallen out of their box”….he said, emphatically, “that’s impossible! There’s no proofs that continents move like that!”
    But not much more than about 10 yrs later, science did prove it. And so much more!

  60. Why do religious fundamentalists have so much trouble reasoning hypothetically? They seem unable to understand that one can dislike a character one considers to be fictional.

    "Atheists don't hate fairies, leprechauns, or unicorns because they don't exist. It is impossible to hate something that doesn't exist. Atheists — like the painting experts hated the painter — hate God because He does exist." – Ray Comfort.

  61. Are Grandparents were way smarter than us. They figured everything out on their own instead of finding the answers on Google!

  62. He’s a extremely teacher.

  63. I get your point but quran doesn't say to kill someone or anyone like that!!!!

  64. I think IQ has dropped in the last 20 years. Most college students I've met are more dimwitted than past generations. This guy is profoundly wrong about most 'facts' and the meaning of IQ. He is the reason college students come out of class dumber than they went in.

  65. And yet more people than ever that are socially and emotionally inept…

  66. My dentist no longer changed horse shoes & doesn't concider himself a blacksmith anymore….
    So what to do with my horse. I better trade him In for a mustang.
    The education system teaches us 2 things.
    Believe what you hear &
    Do what your told.
    They don't teach us how to think for ourselves.
    Question EVERYTHING.

  67. Hi there, I want to know if Rotogenflux Methods, will really work for me? I notice many people keep on speaking about this iq boost secrets.

  68. I could listen to this guy all night!

  69. This guy is so cool. Also, anyone else tired of old people saying that we are less intelligent than them for whatever random reason? Our minds get so much more exercise in this generation because we use hypotheticals and we think about the improbable.

  70. Guys. increase your IQ score over 15 points doesn't need to be hard (I used to think it did). I'll give you some advice now. Get a iq course called Rotogenflux Methods (just google it). Thanks to it I have improve my IQ in a short period of time. I shouldn't even be talking about it cause I do not really want a lot of other guys out there running exactly the same game but whatever. I'm just in a excellent mood right now so I'll share the wealth lol.

  71. The biggest hope this gives me is that our kids are going to fix what we fucked up. We need to stop thinking that we know it all because we fucking don't.

  72. The Quran doesn’t say to kill your daughter for ‘honor’ or any other reason if she was raped. How could a professor keen on historical facts get it so wrong!

  73. This really helped me empathize more and understand why my boomer mom thinks and acts and doesn't understand the way I live.

  74. Good reason why religion is in decline… we use logic

  75. A threshing machine is far more a study to me than a brand new combine.
    Steam use is fascinating to me.
    Grandpa was a a steam engineer.
    In 1910.

  76. What he describes as "the pre science age mind" is exactly what I see in Flat Earthers today. They posses a total inability to see in abstraction, to think in abstract terms. Another commonality I see in them is an inability to accurately guess the likelihood of something being true or not. They will adamantly assert that something we all know to be true is false simply because they can't understand it. But at the same time accept as fact things that are not only untrue but are so extremely unlikely as to be practically impossible. I'm sure if you asked any of them, "are you paranoid?" they would all say "no".

  77. Could of saved 18.5 minutes and say – TECHNOLOGY 👀

  78. here beacuse of destiny lmao

  79. This change in the way of thinking has had a serious negative effects. Nowadays people are likely to assume that abstractions actually exist and that they can know the answer to an empirical question without resort to empirical evidence. These effects result in serious nonsense parading as knowledge.

  80. Tried to let my dad play Team Fortress 2. "I do not want to use minigun, I want to use this shotgun, it's Mossberg and much more reliable than those fancy schmancy new guns". And "I shot that boy in the face with a shotgun, he still kept running! And there is not even a scar on his face. This game is broken", -But dad, it's a video game… "Of course it's just a game, I wouldn't really shoot anyone, but the game is clearly broken! These game makers have clearly never used a shotgun. I should get pen and paper and write them a letter, they need to be informed what happens if you shoot a person with a shotgun. This is not what happens at all…". No winning that argument. If someone's head doesn't explode when it's shot with a shotgun, that simply does not compute. xD

  81. Typical professor talking style. Meandering all of the place with floating anecdotes, to which the only point one might extract from this waffle is that thinking should not be concrete bound. We see this in contrived so called "thought-experiments" to test moral conviction in which a situation is devised outside of reality with the sole purpose of convicting the "testee" of being either morally bankrupt, and/or cave in to the premise that nothing can be known for certain. Never heard of this man before, but based upon this talk I would say be wary of this type of educator.

  82. All we have achieved to date is because we stand upon the shoulders of giants.

  83. I cant believe they have banned his recent book! Injustice of the worst kind and interesting that a book on "freedom of speech" needs to be censored when you can get a copy of "Mein Kampf" (Hitler's book) ANYWHERE????

  84. I thought he looked familiar from Otago University, excellent lecture……the Flynn effect….

  85. Sir please speak slower, you have a lot to say!

  86. Our ancestors were much wiser than us. They didn't allow women to vote.

  87. The computer’s voice from the movie “War Games” comes to mind instantly.

  88. A fascinating talk and really informative. I wish he hadn’t slipped into talking about something he knows nothing about: there is nothing in the Koran that says you should kill your daughter if she is raped. Unfortunately in some cultures she may be viewed as tainted but that is about cultural norms it has nothing to do with religion. I feel deeply saddened that someone who is so deeply knowledgeable should be so ignorant of this fact. It perhaps says something about the world in general: there is a great deal of ignorance about religions other than our own. I have not read the bible or the Torah. Perhaps the difference is that I do not make assumptions about the texts and the people that follow their tenets. He probably meant no disrespect but that is the saddest part.

  89. And how can they censhorship this wonderful man in England with his new book?

  90. This guy's public speaking skills are legit

  91. but your grandchildren's IQ is going to be lower than yours because of fluoride in the water. fluoride i good for teeth is you rinse with it and spit it out. never drink fluoride.

  92. Imagine the retardation of killing your daughter if they got raped..

  93. This is absurd, using minimal examples to prove a point. He is not providing a statistically reliable set of numbers to make his point. While he might be right that IQs have improved, he has provided no meaningful proof thereof. Not everybody thought that way.

  94. I am very sceptical about his claim that the modern (developed) world has made massive progress in handling abstractions and not focusing obsessively on utility. There is scant evidence for this, other than the claim that the standards of IQ tests have risen so much in the last century, and that new technologies and associated employment demand (and have therefore achieved) greater mental agility and a corresponding decrease in pragmatic classification of the world.

    However, I concede that the well-educated part of the populations of developed countries have improved over generations in handling abstractions in their working lives and to some extent in everyday lives. This improvement may be sufficient to explain the putative increase in average IQ scores. However, since there is no real comparison available (he is imputing the scores that we might obtain, on average, doing IQ tests of 100 or 50 years ago), so the claim is really specious. There is powerful contradictory evidence about skills within the UK educational system, where Chief Examiners in the A Level examinations in Mathematics have assessed that the standards of 20 and 50 years ago were much higher, in order to attain pass and distinction grades. Similar observations have been made about the linguistic skills of teenagers and university students. So, according to this evidence, recent generations are operating at lower skill levels than their parents and grandparents.

    Turning to the problems of the modern world, it is hardly conceivable that high-IQ people (according to the standards of 100 years ago) could be fooled by the irrational and non-logical claims of contemporary politicians enjoying considerable success across many developed countries. This is not a comment on political beliefs, or ideology, but on the inability to detect absurd "arguments" claiming to be logical in form. The evidence offered by popular political support suggests strongly that the UK skills decline is important as an explanation: greater intellectual ability hardly seems plausible, at least as a total phenomenon.

    There is one way out of this conundrum, though. Mr Flynn has made the serious statistical error of "reifying the average". IQ scores are defined as 100=the average of total scores. If the distribution of scores (standard coefficient) remains much the same, then his claims could be valid. If, however, the spread of scores becomes wider, then we cannot compare the results of IQ tests across generations. In fact, this is what one would expect anyway. Over the last few decades in particular, income distribution has widened massively. Similarly, access to top-quality education is fairly restricted in most countries (often determined by family wealth and connections); access to medium quality university college education is more accessible than 100 years ago; and more and more poor families in the developed world are missing out on any decent sort of education at all. Therefore, the average may have gone up (pushed up by people with mediocre education, but better than that of their forbears); the highest levels are probably similar; and the lowest levels are also probably similar to the past. So, really, all we are talking about is (hypothetically) some 40-50% of the population which has made intellectual progress. The left-behind, marginalised class has not, and these are the voters shaping our political world, doing the mundane jobs, and complaining (rightly) about their poor living conditions and low quality of life.

  95. With all due respect to Mr. Flynn, it just seems that society keeps getting dumber. Maybe IQ and intelligence are two different things after all, and IQ only measures a kind of cerebral virtuosity that doesn't really imply the presence of actual reflective thought and inward knowledge.

    It's like with music. You can be really good at learning the theory and playing any instrument but that doesn't automatically translate in an actually profound understanding of music, and prodigies and virtuosos aren't always among the best composers. Perhaps it is the same with IQ. One can manipulate symbols and abstractions with real ease, but still have no actual understanding of more profound things.

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