TED & Talks

Why are IQ scores rising? Industrialization rewired our minds. | David Epstein

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300 years of industrialization have boosted our IQ scores in one very specific way.

– Human intelligence is increasing by approximately 3 IQ points per decade, a phenomenon known as the Flynn effect.

– The increases come from one area of intelligence in particular: abstract thinking, which can be tested using puzzles like Raven’s Progressive Matrices. Watch this video to see two kinds of puzzles: One your modern mind is perfectly geared for, and another that might just fool you.

– In this video, David Epstein recounts a natural experiment in the Soviet Union in the 1930s that tested the intelligence of isolated subsistence farmers compared to people who had been exposed to industrialization. The experiment revealed fascinating information about abstract thinking, intelligence transfer, and how modern life has changed the way we perceive the world.

David Epstein is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Sports Gene. He has masters degrees in environmental science and journalism and has worked as an investigative reporter for ProPublica and as a senior writer for Sports Illustrated. His latest book is Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World (https://amzn.to/2Xy5Afz)

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