Are We Getting Smarter? Rising IQ in the Twenty-First Century

James R. Flynn. Cambridge Univ, $22 trade paper (328p) ISBN 978-1-107-60917-4
The operative question of this study is not so much “Are we getting smarter?” but rather, how much rests on two letters? IQ scores have been consistently on the rise for more than a century, and Flynn, who discovered this so-called “Flynn effect,” spends most of this book trying to explain and develop his discovery. He expands his analysis of IQ test scores to include the times and places that shape them. Among the many issues he explores are race, measuring IQ in the developing world, and even the (mis)interpretation of IQ scores in the judicial system—all factors that cannot, Flynn argues, be ignored in the consideration of intelligence tests. It is clear that Flynn, professor emeritus at the University of Otago, New Zealand, brings an impressive amount of his own intelligence to the discussion, as well as years of researching what makes us smart. Less clear is the continuity across his many, broadening ideas. For example, it is difficult to see the connection he makes between the diagnosis of mental retardation among criminals and the vocabulary gap between parents and their children. And Flynn’s language itself is not always accessible, filled with technical terms. Even for a population that is increasingly getting smarter, this book remains a difficult read. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/06/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 321 pages - 978-1-107-02809-8
Open Ebook - 326 pages - 978-1-139-56939-2
Open Ebook - 321 pages - 978-1-139-57539-3
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