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Intelligence - are we becoming stupider?

mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,705 ✭✭✭✭
Here's an interesting fact. Apparently since IQ tests were invented over a century ago, humans have been achieving ever increasing results. It seems that even the average person today would have been considered a genius compared to someone born in 1919.

That is until recently, when it might be that we are getting stupider!

IQ tests are often criticised, but research shows that their scores can be useful indicators of your performance on many tasks. Research on scores over the past century has shown a steady increase and though the cause is a matter of debate, it appears to be due to multiple environmental factors rather than a genetics.

Whatever the cause of this however, it appears the rise in IQs is stalling!

Is it because modern society is suffering from “temporal exhaustion”? Higher IQs have not brought solutions to many of the world’s major problems. And though you might think the more intelligent you are, the more rational you are but even the smartest people can be swayed by misleading messages.

There are also more general critical thinking skills: capacity to challenge your assumptions, identify missing information, and look for alternatives that don't correlate strongly with IQ, nor necessarily come with higher education.

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190709-has-humanity-reached-peak-intelligence

What do you think about IQ testing? What's the difference between intelligence, education and creativity? Can you be educated and not intelligent? Can you be intelligent and not educated? Do you think people are really becoming dumber like the article suggests? What can be done about it?

Comments

  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    I think it's more about people's approach to problem solving. Now, you don't use your brain in the same way, as you can just use the internet to find the answers you're looking for. It doesn't mean we're less intelligent, just that intelligence tests need to be tweaked to keep up with evolution.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,705 ✭✭✭✭
    You'd be surprised at how many people ask questions that they could easily find answers to on the internet. I find most of the questions asked on Quora really dumb as all it would take to find a good answer would be to type the same question into Google.
  • DingDing Posts: 15 ✭✭
    - What do you think about IQ testing?

    When I see "IQ testing", the first thing occurred in my brain is several patterns or numbers or pictures with a blank, followed by a question "choose one to fill the blank". I don't know the science behind it, it just looks like a boring and weird game.

    - What's the difference between intelligence, education and creativity?

    They are three different things in my eyes. According to Collins Dictionary:

    > *Intelligence* is the ability to think, reason, and understand instead of doing things automatically or by instinct.

    > *Education* involves teaching people various subjects, usually at a school or college, or being taught.

    > *Creativity* is creative ability. A creative person has the ability to invent and develop original ideas, especially in the arts.

    They are different yet connected.

    - Can you be educated and not intelligent?

    No. One could gain intelligence through being educated.

    - Can you be intelligent and not educated?

    No.

    - Do you think people are really becoming dumber like the article suggests?

    I don't know. This is a big world.

    - What can be done about it?

    Nothing.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,705 ✭✭✭✭
    @Ding I think there are many intelligent people who are not necessarily well-educated. You need to be able to go to school and study to become educated. However a lot of people who how to do well without study or education.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    Ding said:

    - What do you think about IQ testing?



    When I see "IQ testing", the first thing occurred in my brain is several patterns or numbers or pictures with a blank, followed by a question "choose one to fill the blank". I don't know the science behind it, it just looks like a boring and weird game.



    - What's the difference between intelligence, education and creativity?



    They are three different things in my eyes. According to Collins Dictionary:



    > *Intelligence* is the ability to think, reason, and understand instead of doing things automatically or by instinct.



    > *Education* involves teaching people various subjects, usually at a school or college, or being taught.



    > *Creativity* is creative ability. A creative person has the ability to invent and develop original ideas, especially in the arts.



    They are different yet connected.



    - Can you be educated and not intelligent?



    No. One could gain intelligence through being educated.



    - Can you be intelligent and not educated?



    No.



    - Do you think people are really becoming dumber like the article suggests?



    I don't know. This is a big world.



    - What can be done about it?



    Nothing.

    I think you can learn "facts" (and be educated) but not actually be intelligent in any way that is useful in life. I know a lot of people like that!
  • DingDing Posts: 15 ✭✭
    @mheredge @GemmaRowlands Please let me explain my definition of "educated".
    > You need to be able to go to school and study to become educated.
    I think learning materials are really easy to access nowadays, thanks to the internet and printing. So we can study without going to school. In my opinion, a person who is educated is because he/she learned things, he/she could learn from learning materials, from going to school, from life, from his/her thinking.

    As I've said, one could gain intelligence through being educated. He/She could totally be educated by himself/herself.
  • VokVok Posts: 1,884 ✭✭✭✭
    I don't think that people are becoming dumber. It's because we are lazy by nature we don't want to retain information that is available just at your fingertips anymore. I'm sure that those who lived pre-internet life knew more facts than I do. I just know where to look things up if need be - on the Internet. As for intelligence, I agree that you can be extremely intelligent without holding any academic titles. I know many people who are very knowlegable and at the same time they haven't studied anywhere. They're just have an inquisitive mind.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    Vok said:

    I don't think that people are becoming dumber. It's because we are lazy by nature we don't want to retain information that is available just at your fingertips anymore. I'm sure that those who lived pre-internet life knew more facts than I do. I just know where to look things up if need be - on the Internet. As for intelligence, I agree that you can be extremely intelligent without holding any academic titles. I know many people who are very knowlegable and at the same time they haven't studied anywhere. They're just have an inquisitive mind.

    This is possibly very true. You don't need to learn things as much now as you can just check things online and then forget about them again afterwards.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,705 ✭✭✭✭
    Me too, I know several people who are super-intelligent but never went to university @Vok. However they often did find not having the piece of paper quite an obstacle and had a tougher job proving themselves early in their careers.
  • PaulettePaulette Posts: 26,184 mod
    Indeed intelligence doesn't nothing to do with education. It is an instinct you have it or not. When you are enforced to learn something thenn you will forgot it very soon, or just notkeep up in your mind for long time, but if you regist it full of passion then you can it and you always can recall it.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,705 ✭✭✭✭
    Animals can be intelligent. To a certain extra many animals can be trained, so I suppose they can be educated in some things. But I have yet to meet a read cat or dog!
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    mheredge said:

    Animals can be intelligent. To a certain extra many animals can be trained, so I suppose they can be educated in some things. But I have yet to meet a read cat or dog!

    I think some animals are very intelligent. My cat has learned how to get to her food, and how to open certain doors in the house that are unusual, and I wouldn't really expect cats to be able to do that!
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,705 ✭✭✭✭
    My cat was very good at opening doors, but they had to have a lever type handle. She couldn't cope with the round ones!
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    mheredge said:

    My cat was very good at opening doors, but they had to have a lever type handle. She couldn't cope with the round ones!

    Yes my cat is the same, she just puts her weight on the lever and manages to open them that way. They wouldn't be able to move the round ones without fingers.
  • VokVok Posts: 1,884 ✭✭✭✭
    @mheredge @GemmaRowlands I've heard that some cats can use the real toilet and then flush it. I'm sure there are some videos online you can find. I've also read somewhere the other day that the only animal species people can't tame is the wildcat.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,705 ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2019
    I can believe that wildcats are impossible to train @Vok. Even tigers in the circus I think were not so much trained as bribed into doing certain things. I don't think leopards and other big cats were ever used either. But lions seem to me to be a bit more canine, which is why perhaps they seem a bit more trainable.

    This cat is certainly very well trained. I think it curious how the natural first action however, is to scuff with the paw as if there is sand on the toilet seat to bury the poo. And that the cat on being asked if he'd forgotten anything, went back to flush the toilet in the first video, but didn't need reminding in the second one.





    The following video shows a woman training her cat to use the toilet in 6 weeks.



    Oh @Vok what have you started? You know I am mad about cats.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    Vok said:

    @mheredge @GemmaRowlands I've heard that some cats can use the real toilet and then flush it. I'm sure there are some videos online you can find. I've also read somewhere the other day that the only animal species people can't tame is the wildcat.

    Yes I have seen photos on the internet of this kind of thing. I honestly think I would be a bit scared if I walked into the bathroom and my cat was using the toilet!
  • VokVok Posts: 1,884 ✭✭✭✭
    @GemmaRowlands they say it's completely sane to talk to your cat as long as it's not answering you back.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,705 ✭✭✭✭
    Oh @Vok, my cat used to answer me back all the time.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    Vok said:

    @GemmaRowlands they say it's completely sane to talk to your cat as long as it's not answering you back.

    Actually, my cat definitely answers me back! I don't know what she's saying, but if I speak to her, she will meow at me to fill in her parts of the "conversation"!
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,705 ✭✭✭✭
    It is interesting that they respond to the voice and chat back as if you understand meow language. They probably think we're stupid if we don't actually do what they are telling us to do.
  • VokVok Posts: 1,884 ✭✭✭✭
    I'm sure cats feel superior to humans and treat us as their servants. There's, however, a breed of the Thai cat, if my memory serves me right, that are more loyal to their owners than other felines.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,705 ✭✭✭✭
    Could this be a Siamese cat @Vok?
  • VokVok Posts: 1,884 ✭✭✭✭
    No @mheredge , I'd remember if it was a Siamese. I think it was something rarer.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,705 ✭✭✭✭
    Burmese cats are also super-intelligent but I'm told Persian cats can be quite dumb @Vok.
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,705 ✭✭✭✭
    Some useful words that might make you sound more intelligent. Rather than using 'very' to emphasise your point, try to use words that convey the stronger meaning.


  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    mheredge said:

    Some useful words that might make you sound more intelligent. Rather than using 'very' to emphasise your point, try to use words that convey the stronger meaning.


    I remember when I used to work in a primary school teaching English, and their stories would be full of the words "good" and "nice". I gave them a list of words they could use instead, and their stories got much better! Having a detailed vocabulary is brilliant!
  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 42,705 ✭✭✭✭
    Most people use 'very' too much. When teaching students for the IELTS speaking exam, I used to always stress how important it was to prove their fluency by avoiding this four letter word and to use more varied vocabulary like in the list above.
  • GemmaRowlandsGemmaRowlands Moderator Posts: 10,331 mod
    I was proofreading a document before, and they must have used "as well" twenty times during it. I have flagged it, and suggested they come up with some alternatives for next time!
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