Human Intelligence on the wane?

Human Intelligence on the wane?
Fecha de publicación: 
31 May 2023
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It is not the first time there is a rumor related to the decline of the human intelligence. Every once in a while the media, and social networks, address this issue which gets worse as years pass by due to several factors. Some theories hint that it is the result of the abusive usage of pesticides, some say it is the result of the water fluoridation, some blame the intake of processed foods and the obsession with new technologies which, in this case, shortens our ability to analyze.

However, scientists deny any of these causes so far. But there is an actual concern on the fact that since the 1970s, the average human IQ has dropped considerably, and this issue is related to population aging.

In this regard, experts consider that over the past century in the richest countries, intelligence has experienced a constant increase because, in theory, social conditions are better, as well as public health. However, evidence suggests that this behavior, called the "Flynn effect," has entered a recession and began to be more evident since 2004, because they noticed the drop in average IQ scores.

To avoid biases in IQ tests, the international community understands that such tests should be broken down into categories according to the time, that is, evaluate short-term memory and working memory separately, and compare the results with previous decades taking into account the precise context.

Based on this form of evaluation, it was found that short-term memory tests have improved based on the so-called "Flynn effect," while working memory tests have declined, and this may suggest that this type of intelligence is to blame for the decline of global intelligence. However, a demonstrable fact is that short-term memory is easier to maintain over time than working memory.

Nevertheless, this is an issue very difficult to determine. Not all people and nations enjoy the same conditions, and it requires more rigorous investigations that may include a more diverse groups.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz / CubaSí Translation Staff

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