IQ scores in the US have fallen for the first time in nearly 100 years

IQ scores in the US have dropped for the first time in nearly 100 years, new research finds.

The researchers set out to find evidence that each generation is smarter than the last, known as the ‘Flynn effect’ – but they found the opposite.

Scientists from the University of Oregon and Northwestern reviewed nearly 400,000 online IQ tests between 2006 and 2018.

While they didn’t give the exact drop, they said the biggest drop was in people ages 18 to 22 and those with less education.

The research was conducted before the pandemic, meaning disruptions to education due to lockdowns may have exacerbated it further.

Those aged 18-22 saw the biggest drop in IQ tests between 2006 and 2018, study found

Those aged 18-22 saw the biggest drop in IQ tests between 2006 and 2018, study found

The Flynn effect is the idea that IQ scores increase over time, as shown above

The Flynn effect is the idea that IQ scores increase over time, as shown above

The Flynn effect is the idea that IQ scores increase over time, as shown above

Previous research suggested that one reason could be the increasing dominance of technology about our daily lives, shortening our attention span and making us less inclined to think deeply.

Some experts argue that technological leaps mean we have access to more information than ever before, which increases learning opportunities and can make us smarter.

The research has been published in the journal Intelligence.

Some skills, such as 3D tests for spatial reasoning, showed an uptick from 2011 to 2018.

But skills such as verbal reasoning, visual problem solving, and numerical sequence testing had all declined.

It may be that the results “indicate a change in quality or content of teaching and testing skills within,” they wrote in the conclusion.

IQ tests are not a foolproof measure of intelligence and criticism because they only look at a few skills.

Other studies over the years have shown that the Flynn effect may already be reversed outside the US.

a study in Finland found that IQ dropped by two points between 1997 and 2009.

In FranceIQ scores fell by 3.8 IQ ​​points from 1999 to 2009.

Other places including the UK, Norway, Denmark and Australia have discovered similar findings.

Scientists have previously warned that the Internet and social media may make people think worse.

Academic and science presenter Professor Jim Al-Khalili said that with so much information “coming at us all the time”, we increasingly can only deal with bite-sized chunks of knowledge, such as short tweets or two-minute videos.

He told MailOnline last April that despite our “massively increased scientific knowledge … the human brain has not gotten any bigger or more efficient or better than it was thousands of years ago.”

He added: ‘Because we use technology these days, you could say we’re getting dumber.

“Our attention span is shorter, we are not willing to spend time thinking carefully or discussing and debating.”

A previous study suggested that children who spent less than an hour each day on iPads and other gadgets developed better brains than their peers.

Researchers in Illinois found that two-year-olds who limited screen time to 60 minutes and played traditional play for at least 15 minutes a day had better executive function than toddlers who spent more time on electronics.

They scored higher than their peers for memory, attention span, decision making and multitasking.

Playing outside or with traditional toys is thought to flood the brain with blood, increasing blood vessels and strengthening neuron connections, making it easier for children to experience cognitive development.

Staring at electronics, on the other hand, does not stimulate the brain and is believed to thin the cerebral cortex that controls critical thinking and reasoning.

Toddlers in the US spend an average of two and a half hours a day watching TV, iPads, cell phones or video games, according to figures.

In the UK, Ofcom estimates that three to four year olds watch screens for three hours a day.

Children’s screen time is believed to have increased significantly during the pandemic, as homeschooling and lockdowns became common.


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