Is the human race getting smarter?

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As far as human intelligence is expressed in test scores, its advancement can’t be denied. In his new book, which was excerpted in “The Wall Street Journal” James R. Flynn explains why.
 
It depends on the test used, but on average the intelligence quotient (IQ) increased by more than 30 points in the last century; our ancestors in the year 1910 would have achieved scores of only about 50 to 70 points. This upward trend in intelligence expressed in test scores has been labeled the “Flynn effect” after James R. Flynn who discovered it three decades ago. Scientists still struggle to explain the phenomenon. In his new book Flynn discusses the abstract nature of modern life as a cause, particularly with the world of hypothetical ideas, symbols and pictures changing our lives. Whilst our ancestors viewed the world through “utilitarian spectacles” stressing differences and the material world, we use “scientific spectacles” trying to classify things, understand hidden relationships and symbolic meanings. Technologies thereby create a positive feedback loop between the environment and human reasoning about it.
 
In an interview by Ian Tucker in the “Guardian” Flynn puts the development of intelligence into a cultural and gender context. Also here the effects of the changing environment show. Populations in the developing world, which traditionally had scored lower in past decades, are making faster gains than those in the West. Intelligence should not simply equated with smartness in general and does not contribute much to happiness, but its progress can be viewed as an indicator that the environment shapes humans strongly beyond genetic predispositions.