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Is The Modern World Making Us Smarter?
The modern era has already seen a measureable uptick in certain areas of brainpower. Since the 1930s, standardized test scores have been steadily increasing, a phenomenon called the Flynn Effect. You might assume that the rise in IQ scores is due to people doing better on basic math skills and memorizations—basically, anything we can study for. But what’s especially interesting about the Flynn Effect is that the opposite seems to be true: Humanity’s biggest improvements have been in abstract thinking and general cognitive functioning. One standard intelligence test is Raven’s Progressive Matrices, developed by English psychologist John C. Raven in 1936. The test is a series of 60 non-verbal multiple-choice questions that’s ideal for measuring abstract reasoning. A test-taker is shown a series of patterns in a 3×3 grid, with one picture missing; the person has to pick the right pattern out from multiple choices. It’s not the kind of test you can easily cram for.Read More