There’s an interesting article in the New Yorker by Malcolm Gladwell on biology and IQ titled “None of the Above: What IQ Doesn’t Tell You about Race.” He discusses James Flynn’s findings that IQ test scores have been rising steadily. Flynn used data from various countries around the world and concluded:

In every case, the story was pretty much the same. I.Q.s around the world appeared to be rising by 0.3 points per year, or three points per decade, for as far back as the tests had been administered. For some reason, human beings seemed to be getting smarter.

This finding is now referred to as the Flynn Effect.  Such change seems to challenge the assumption that intelligence is an inherited trait that is relatively fixed.  According to Gladwell, Flynn is suggesting that, “I.Q. is not a freestanding number but a value attached to a specific time and a specific test.” Gladwell also includes some nice examples of cases in which what appeared to be different levels of performance based on race/ethnicity were explained away when looking at the types of students included in the samples.

It’s a provocative article that could lead to some interesting discussion.

[Hat tip to Bob.]

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