Synopses & Reviews
The Flynn effect' is a surprising finding, identified by James R. Flynn, that IQ test scores have significantly increased from one generation to the next over the past century. Flynn now brings us an exciting new book which aims to make sense of this rise in IQ scores and considers what this tells us about our intelligence, our minds and society. Are We Getting Smarter? features fascinating new material on a variety of topics including the effects of intelligence in the developing world; the impact of rising IQ scores on the death penalty, cognitive ability in old age, and the language abilities of youth culture; as well as controversial topics of race and gender. He ends with the message that assessing IQ goes astray if society is ignored. As IQ scores continue to rise into the 21st century, particularly in the developing world, the Flynn effect' marches on
"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." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.