The decline of human intelligence

Huffington Post reports: Our technology may be getting smarter, but a provocative new study suggests human intelligence is on the decline. In fact, it indicates that Westerners have lost 14 I.Q. points on average since the Victorian Era.

What exactly explains this decline? Study co-author Dr. Jan te Nijenhuis, professor of work and organizational psychology at the University of Amsterdam, points to the fact that women of high intelligence tend to have fewer children than do women of lower intelligence. This negative association between I.Q. and fertility has been demonstrated time and again in research over the last century.

But this isn’t the first evidence of a possible decline in human intelligence.

“The reduction in human intelligence (if there is any reduction) would have begun at the time that genetic selection became more relaxed,” Dr. Gerald Crabtree, professor of pathology and developmental biology at Stanford University, told The Huffington Post in an email. “I projected this occurred as our ancestors began to live in more supportive high density societies (cities) and had access to a steady supply of food. Both of these might have resulted from the invention of agriculture, which occurred about 5,000 to 12,000 years ago.” [Continue reading…]

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2 thoughts on “The decline of human intelligence

  1. Christopher Hoare

    Oh Boy! Does this study ever call for some smart comments.

    Since 1940, the start of the TV era, it is hardly surprising that intelligence has gone down—why else would corporations be spending so much money to train the monkeys who believe TV ads? Comparing Victorian intelligence to modern surely needs taking the two sources if information into account…the work required to understand the written word compared to the no effort and easily forgotten images from a screen mean that Victorians exercised their brains more.

    And what ever has happened to the understanding that the IQ test only measures a person’s ability to do IQ tests?

  2. Norman

    All things considered, I think that one of the reasons this is taking place today, if it is, has to do do with the bits of the story as it’s done here with a link to the main source, which in this case, is Huff Post, which before one can continue reading, they-huff post-has to instill so many cookies, logos, and who knows what else, before the store line continues. By that time, one has gotten bored and forgets what thoughts the story first invoked. Overdoing such as it is with the advertisement[s] and skulking after each viewer, well, wouldn’t you say that this causes a decline in mental abilities of the reader?

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