You probably think that humans are getting smarter at the rate that technology is developing, but you’re in for a sad surprise: recent studies have shown that humans have already reached peak performance when it comes to intelligence, and we’re slowly on the decline.
This was based on results of IQ tests collected in the past years. The Flynn Effect, which connotes the steady rise of IQ scores “from one generation to the next for all countries for which data existed” is apparently on the reverse—points have been steadily dropping in the recent years.
The basis for this includes the scores of young men taking compulsory IQ exams to enter the military in Norway between 1970 and 2009. The results show that on the average, there is a 7-point drop in scores every 25 years.
Previously, European countries such as Finland and the UK have also suggested the same trend. In fact, Professor James Flynn, after whom the Flynn Effect was named, made a comment on The Telegraph back in 2009 about teenagers in the UK. “It looks like there is something screwy among British teenagers.”
Dr. John Raven, who invented the test which Professor Flynn used in some of his works, added: "IQ is influenced by multiple factors that can be dependent upon culture, but the norms tend to be very similar across cultures even in societies that have no access to computers and television. What we do see is that IQ changes dramatically over time."
Although experts are still baffled about the cause of the decline, some say that it’s could be the change in the quality of schooling, the existence of 'mindless' forms of entertainment, and even the development of modern diets and food staples.
It could also be that the concept of “IQ” may already be shifting. As noted in a feature on INC., “Scientists make a distinction between crystallized intelligence (all the stuff you've been taught and remember) and fluid intelligence (your ability to learn new stuff). IQ tests generally measure crystallized intelligence more, so changes in schooling that de-emphasize memorization might be driving a decline in scores. If this explanation is true, students remain as smart as ever (just way more reliant on Google).”
Whatever the reason is, it still always pays to invest in learning and in continually improving yourself. Here are a few ways to keep your smarts up:
Learn a new language.
Visit a museum.
Museums always hold a wealth of knowledge as they are built to be places of education and appreciation. Notably, visiting an art museum makes you a better critical-thinker as well as more empathic towards history.
Here’s another reason to get moving—exercise makes you smarter as movement increases blood circulation to your brain. It also improves your mood to boot, so there’s really no downside to getting back to your long-forgotten workout.
Seriously, girl: get enough sleep. We’ve been saying this again and again and we can’t reiterate it enough. According to Entrepreneur, “The brain does all kinds of sorting, organizing and storing while we sleep. And it takes time. If we cut back on our sleep, we learn a lot less.” Be kind to your body—and your brain.