The Great Intelligence Decline: Unraveling the Mystery of the Reversal of the Flynn Effect

The Flynn effect refers to a previous phenomenon observed in the 20th century, which involved an increase in intelligence test (IQ) scores in many countries over several decades. However, since the 1990s, some countries have observed a reversal of this trend, that is, a decline in population intelligence.

Factors that may explain the decline in population intelligence since 1990 include:

  1. Changes in education: The introduction of new teaching strategies that focus more on acquiring life skills than on mental development may affect intelligence test scores.
  2. Impact of technology: Increased use of technology may lead to less intellectual effort in everyday life. As a result, people may be less trained in solving problems that require deeper thinking.
  3. Changes in social structure: A decrease in the number of children in families and changes in social structure, such as lower levels of interaction with peers and adults, may affect intellectual development.
  4. Changes in diet: The introduction of processed foods, rich in sugars, fats, and salt, may affect brain development and mental abilities.
  5. Impact of media: The impact of television, computer games, and other media on children’s intellectual development is still a subject of research. Some studies suggest that excessive media use may affect concentration, reasoning, and learning abilities.
  6. Changes in the research sample: The socio-demographic composition of the population may change over time, which may affect intelligence test results. For example, international migrations may introduce cultural diversity, which affects IQ test results.
  7. Changes in intelligence tests: Intelligence tests are regularly updated to reflect current societal skills. Changes in tests may affect IQ scores.

It is worth noting that the above factors may affect intelligence test results to varying degrees in different countries and communities. Also, different studies may yield conflicting results.
Therefore, there is still no clear answer to the question of what causes the decline in population intelligence since 1990. Many factors may affect intelligence test results, and their interactions may be complex. To gain a fuller understanding of this phenomenon, further research is needed, taking into account the interactions between various factors and the differences between individual countries and communities.

The Flynn effect illustrates that intelligence test scores can change over time in a population. Although this phenomenon is not directly related to individual intelligence development, it can be inferred that environmental factors affect intellectual development.

Scientists agree that intelligence can be shaped by both genetic and environmental factors. This means that the brain can acquire greater intelligence throughout life, depending on various factors such as diet, lifestyle, education, or exposure to diverse experiences. Here are some aspects that can affect intellectual development:

  1. Diet: Studies have shown that a healthy diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids can support brain development and cognitive functions. Therefore, maintaining healthy eating habits can affect intellectual development.
  2. Media abuse: Overusing media, such as television, video games, or social networks, can affect cognitive abilities such as concentration, reasoning, and learning. It is worth noting that not all video games or media use are harmful, but moderation and maintaining a balance between online and offline activities are key.
  3. Over-reliance on technology: Modern technologies make life easier, but they can also lead to less intellectual effort. For example, using calculators instead of mental calculations or using GPS navigation instead of reading maps on your own can affect cognitive skills development.

Therefore, a proper diet, moderate use of media, and mindful use of technology can affect intellectual development throughout life. It is also essential to care for other aspects of a healthy lifestyle, such as regular physical activity, education, social relationships, healthy sleep, and stress management.

Precise data on the decline in intelligence quotient for specific generations in the context of the reversal of the Flynn effect are difficult to determine because different studies present different results, and this effect may have different impacts on different communities. As a result, it is impossible to provide precise values for the points lost by generations from 2000, 2010, or 2030-2040.

However, many studies suggest that the reversal of the Flynn effect is present in highly developed societies, such as the USA, Germany, or Scandinavian countries. In the case of China, the situation is less clear – some studies suggest that the Flynn effect may still be present, while others indicate its decline. As for Poland, there is not enough data to present a precise picture of the situation.

Predicting how many points the next generation from 2030-2040 will lose is also difficult because the influence of various factors on intelligence may change over time and depend on policies and initiatives taken by governments and local communities.

Further research and monitoring of trends in intelligence test results are essential to gain a better understanding of the reversal of the Flynn effect and its impact on future generations.

What can be done to increase IQ:

  1. Adopt a healthy diet rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids,
  2. Engage in regular physical activity,
  3. Stimulate the mind through reading, solving puzzles, and learning new skills,
  4. Participate in social interactions and build relationships with others,
  5. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, care for good sleep and stress management,
  6. Continue education throughout life, participate in training, workshops, and courses,
  7. Limit screen exposure, especially before bedtime,
  8. Practice concentration and meditation skills,
  9. Use technology moderately and consciously.

What cannot be done:

  1. Rely exclusively on technology, especially in situations requiring intellectual effort,
  2. Exaggerate the consumption of media, such as television, video games, or social networks,
  3. Ignore a healthy lifestyle, such as regular physical activity, healthy diet, or sleep care,
  4. Avoid social interactions and isolate oneself from others,
  5. Continually postpone learning or developing new skills,
  6. Neglect one’s mental health, avoid dealing with stress or emotions,
  7. Lead a sedentary lifestyle, not engage in any physical activities,
  8. Forget the importance of life experiences and adaptability to changing circumstances,
  9. Neglect the impact of environmental factors on intellectual development, including the quality of education, family environment, and access to resources

Understanding the importance of a balanced lifestyle and environmental factors in intellectual development is crucial for individuals and societies. By recognizing the impact of these aspects on cognitive abilities, we can make better choices and take steps to support and enhance intellectual development throughout our lives.

Governments, educational institutions, and local communities should also recognize the importance of creating environments that foster intellectual development. They can do this by implementing policies that support education, access to resources, and promoting healthy lifestyles for all.

In conclusion, although the reversal of the Flynn effect is a concern for many developed societies, it is essential to remember that intelligence is not a fixed trait. Individuals can take actions to maintain or even improve their cognitive abilities throughout their lives. By paying attention to a balanced lifestyle, healthy habits, and continuous learning, we can contribute to supporting intellectual development and mitigating the potential decline in intelligence quotient in future generations.


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