Scientists have found that Americans’ intelligence quotient (IQ) scores have declined for the first time in more than a century.
The sharpest decrease came from the youngest generations. Those between ages 18 and 22 — Generation Z — saw the sharpest decline in intelligence.
The findings come as a break from the Flynn Effect, which describes a steady increase in IQ scores. The general sense was that increased access to nutrition and education has resulted in higher IQ scores.
Researchers noted the changes coming with the Millennial generation, who were born in the 1980s through the mid-1990s. The authors wrote that “scores were lower for more recent participants across all levels of education.”
The researchers also noted that there has been a significant decline in educational standards over the last several decades that correlated to “a shift in the perceived value of certain cognitive skills.”
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The past two generations have seen a significant change in American education. In both higher and lower education, a number of standards were changed and there is considerable concern about the use of grade inflation, which may have resulted in the lowering of IQ scores.
Such grade inflation has led to some schools being described as “frauds.”
Such research has been introduced previously. A 2018 study found that the average IQ of men from the Millennial generation is declining consistently. The research was thorough, including data from 730,000 young men over nearly forty years.
The study found that IQ began declining among those born after 1991. These Millenial men scored five points below that of their Generation X counterparts and three points under Baby Boomers.
The 2018 study wasn’t the only one, as a 2009 study also placed Millennial intelligence as below that of their older peers.