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Is the Internet making us dumber? (Nope, just different)

Is the Inter­net Real­ly Mak­ing Us Dumb­er? (Der Spiegel):

In Ger­many, scores increase by about 3 IQ points each decade. In fact, the tests have to be adjust­ed every few years to keep up. The test cur­rent­ly used for chil­dren is called the WISC-IV. A per­son claim­ing to have an IQ of 130 needs to spec­i­fy which test gen­er­at­ed that result: WISC-III? WISC-IV? The aston­ish­ing upward trend in IQ lev­els is known as the “Fly­nn effect,” named after Amer­i­can polit­i­cal sci­en­tist James Fly­nn…

Devel­op­ing coun­tries such as Kenya are also mak­ing gains. Sau­di Ara­bia, on the oth­er hand, is mak­ing less progress — Fly­nn sur­mis­es this is because being sub­si­dized by petrodol­lars pro­vides lit­tle moti­va­tion for learn­ing…

The fact that peo­ple are scor­ing pro­gres­sive­ly bet­ter on IQ tests, Fly­nn says, doesn’t rep­re­sent bet­ter cog­ni­tive skills so much as it express­es a mod­ern, sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly influ­enced way of think­ing that can bet­ter take hypo­thet­i­cal and abstract sit­u­a­tions into account…

Think­ing is “plas­tic” and adapts to the envi­ron­ment, Fly­nn adds. From gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion, chil­dren find it eas­i­er to orga­nize sym­bols, cre­ate cat­e­gories and think abstract­ly.”

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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Education & Lifelong Learning

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