The “Flynn Effect” is the phenomenon identified by intelligence researcher James Flynn. He found that average intelligence quotients, or IQ’s, as measured by standardized tests were steadily increasing through the course of the 20th century.
That sounds quite natural because, after all, each generation gets better nurturing. They get better health, improved medical care, more nutritious food and greater schooling.
But IQ is supposed to be mainly about nature, not nurture. Nurturing can certainly affect a person’s well-being, but in theory it doesn’t change a person’s IQ much (except of course when the nurturing is so bad that it produces negative neurological effects).
Flynn and other scientists puzzled for years over the reasons we kept getting smarter. Even as scientists themselves along with everyone else got smarter and smarter, they still never managed to figure out why.
Now they have a reverse Flynn Effect to figure out. In recent decades, average IQ’s have gone down, not up. For those of you who are personally experiencing this reverse effect, I’ll put it in simple terms: People are getting stupider.