Are we getting stoopider?
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19-05-2013, 07:18 AM
Are we getting stoopider?
This recent paper on intelligence compares current population and people in Victorian Age. The findings claims that our RT (reaction times to visual stimuli, an intelligence marker) have decreased.

The crux, according to the researchers, is

"The researchers claim this proves that people have grown "less clever" over time. They back up their claim by suggesting they know the reason for the decline in intelligence—smarter people having fewer children, while the less smart, have more."

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-05-victorian-e...s.html#jCp

Looked up the paper but only the Abstract available for free and I don't want to pay $31.50...see...we're not dumberer Big Grin

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/art...9613000470

My first question would be are they equating "less smart" to "less successful"? If the Victorian Age material only comes from test subjects that were already successful then the data is skewed. If this is the case then my take is that anecdotally this doesn't hold up. Too many brilliant minds have come from less well-to-do families.

So are we becoming less intelligent? What do you all see happening out there in the educational world?

Discuss.

PS What a great site! http://www.hub.sciverse.com/action/home/proceed

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
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19-05-2013, 07:50 AM
RE: Are we getting stoopider?
I think yes...atleast here in the corner of America that I see, and the dealings I have with nieces and nephews from other parts of the country.

Mostly I find they are 'book' smart but not 'practical' smart. They memorize facts while not necessarily learning the lessons (in history, for example).

I see more children volunteering for organizations but cruel to their classmates over who has what gadget.

I see kids (and some adults) get their feelings hurt over the number or likes their post on forums or facebook gets (or doesn't get), and turns that into how they relate to other people in their life.

Many kids in urban areas have no friggin' clue about the amount of stars that actually could be seen from earth if we weren't so afraid of the dark. The space dream is lost on them because they can't see the night sky. Take these camping and they are terrified to be outside at night.

These small things affect how we look at the big picture.


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19-05-2013, 08:37 AM
RE: Are we getting stoopider?
"Stupid people are outbreeding us" (us being, implicitly, the 'smart' ones) is itself an argument that goes back to Victorian times...

Then, as now, people who were considered dumber were usually just poorer and less well educated.

Also, how precisely was reaction time tested over a century ago? I can't imagine it was anywhere near as accurately as how we'd go about it today. Not to say it's necessarily completely inaccurate (enough trials will fix that), just that it's not necessarily good data.

One might be able to model birth rate, as a function of intelligence on a normal distribution, and carry that forward for a few simulated generations, to see whether (and how, if so) the mean, peak, and deviation evolve... I don't know if anyone's ever done that. I would, but I'm too lazy.
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19-05-2013, 08:57 AM
RE: Are we getting stoopider?
Testing reaction times Huh

I bet an 8 year old playing call of duty has much better reflex reactions than someone from the victorian ages.

Which leads me to my next point... our ways of life are completely different now.

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You are your own emphasis.
So I say nothing.

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19-05-2013, 10:06 AM
RE: Are we getting stoopider?
If stupid people really are breeding more, why is that a problem?

Differential reproductive success is what natural selection is all about, and too bad if what you like about yourself isn't particularly a survival trait.

Smartass

Nonsense is nonsense, but the history of nonsense is a very important science.
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19-05-2013, 10:32 AM
RE: Are we getting stoopider?
It took me over three hours to react to the visual stimuli on this thread.

Not bad for a man of my age.

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19-05-2013, 10:37 AM
RE: Are we getting stoopider?
Yes, but again I've been saying this for years now and especially since moving to Oregon.

When someone knocks on my door to tell me not to vote for fluoridated water because it's a government trick to make people more docile (he didn't say docile, he said submissive) -- I just know I've entered the twilight zone.


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19-05-2013, 10:48 AM (This post was last modified: 19-05-2013 11:06 AM by fstratzero.)
RE: Are we getting stoopider?
(19-05-2013 07:18 AM)Full Circle Wrote:  This recent paper on intelligence compares current population and people in Victorian Age. The findings claims that our RT (reaction times to visual stimuli, an intelligence marker) have decreased.

The crux, according to the researchers, is

"The researchers claim this proves that people have grown "less clever" over time. They back up their claim by suggesting they know the reason for the decline in intelligence—smarter people having fewer children, while the less smart, have more."

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-05-victorian-e...s.html#jCp

Looked up the paper but only the Abstract available for free and I don't want to pay $31.50...see...we're not dumberer Big Grin

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/art...9613000470

My first question would be are they equating "less smart" to "less successful"? If the Victorian Age material only comes from test subjects that were already successful then the data is skewed. If this is the case then my take is that anecdotally this doesn't hold up. Too many brilliant minds have come from less well-to-do families.

So are we becoming less intelligent? What do you all see happening out there in the educational world?

Discuss.

PS What a great site! http://www.hub.sciverse.com/action/home/proceed

I found the whole paper for free.
http://ge.tt/352reKg/v/0

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19-05-2013, 10:50 AM
RE: Are we getting stoopider?
It's been theorized that the European populations have been getting dumber for awhile compared to when we were hunter-gatherers. Back in classical and mediaeval Europe, the millenniums of close contact with domesticated animals bred a plethora of severe zoonoses unrivaled by any other geographical populations. The most successful factor in passing on genes wasn't so much high intelligence as it would have been for hunter-gatherer populations as much as it was well developed resistance to infectious diseases.

At least that's my understanding of it.

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19-05-2013, 10:59 AM (This post was last modified: 19-05-2013 11:17 AM by fstratzero.)
RE: Are we getting stoopider?
This reminds me of an IQ test I took a while back. It was more biased towards reaction time to a question rather than if the question was correct.

All you had to do was answer all the question really fast and your IQ was around 250. If you took the time to get the correct answers the IQ would drop to around 88 to 90.

After I figured that out I could fake a large IQ simply by exploiting the fact it measured reaction time rather than correct answers.

So this test is simply retarded.

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