The phenomena of IQ gains have created an environment of confusion that whether we are more intelligent than our ancestors or not? The IQ levels have increased around the world and there is a large number of reasons behind this progress. The world, now, has a large number of intelligent people who have introduced great technological advancements. This technology was missing in our past.
We are now at our highest level of productivity so far. We have never been this productive before. The majority of the people are better educated as compared to their ancestors and are more technologically advanced as compared to their fathers or grandfathers.
In fact, with time, we are getting impressions in different ways that whether people are becoming more intelligent or not. Everyone has a different journey filled with personal experiences, as we all move forward things get more complex and complicated. So what do the studies tell us? Where are we heading to? Are we in the process of collecting more intelligence?
The Idea Of Multiple Intelligences
There is an argument around the world that what intelligence is. Different researchers have different definitions explaining the concept of intelligence. A Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner established that there is no single form of intelligence rather there are ‘multiple intelligences’.
These multiple intelligences are around for a long time. Different forms of intelligence include: verbal, mathematical, logical, interpersonal (between different people), intrapersonal (deep understanding of one’s feelings, emotions, and thought processes), etc. Various forms come under the domain of intelligence.
In ancient times, vocabulary was considered the most important factor to assess whether a person is intelligent or not. Assessing based on vocabulary is backed by the research investigations. Research has shown that intelligence and vocabulary are highly correlated. A study conducted in 2006 found that the vocabulary of the Americans has declined since its peak in 1940.
But there is a counterargument to depending on vocabulary for assessing intelligence. Some researchers have claimed that assessing based on vocabulary includes cultural biases as vocabulary is highly culture specific. Something acceptable in one culture is highly unacceptable in the other one.
The Global Increase In IQ Levels
Looking at the global trends shows that the IQ levels around the world have increased. But that is not the whole story. There is a very interesting trend associated with this. IQ in developing countries is increasing while it is declining in developed countries.
There was a longitudinal study conducted on intelligence. It took around 6 decades for the researchers to find out that global IQ has risen 20 points since 1950. This study included around 200,000 people residing in 48 different countries.
India and China observed the most prominent gains. But generally, the IQ levels in the developing countries rose to a noticeable level. The educational and health care systems improved drastically and that was a major reason behind the increase in IQ levels and intelligence as a whole.
That rise made James Flynn propose the Flynn effect. According to this, this rise in IQ levels is due to the betterment of living conditions. After this concept, a large number of research studies were conducted that supported the Flynn effect. A research study conducted at King’s College London established that IQ in the developing countries has grown faster as compared to the developed ones and if it keeps on growing at the same pace it will soon fill the gap and become equal to the IQ levels of the people residing in the developed countries.
Another major reason is the rapid use of abstract reasoning. One thing that our elders believe is that we do not have common sense matched with the common sense our ancestors had. When something is gained in life, something is lost as a result that is how nature works. Our thinking has grown on abstract terms but we have lost the practical aspects.
With time, each generation is becoming dissimilar from what their ancestors had. Every upcoming generation will bring their own set of values, systems, and abilities. This novelty and updating of abilities will change the world. The same work that was performed in a certain way in the past will be performed differently in the future no matter if the result will remain the same.
The abilities of a new generation will make the world change in a more delightful, enchanting, and sophisticated way. That is the rule of nature. Old things, trends, and systems become obsolete when the new things, trends, and systems come in.
Post-industrial people have become better because the circumstances surrounding them have changed that helped them to grow and become more productive and creative than before. Due to the increase in facilities they are now in capacity to deliver as compared to the facilities they had in the past.