Reason Magazine‘s Hit and Run blog reports that the average American’s IQ has gone up by 18 points in the last 60 years.
Does that mean that 60 years ago, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears would’ve been considered normal?
I don’t understand how ‘average IQ’ can go up. An IQ of 100 is _defined_ to be average.
These kind of claims are pretty dodgy. An IQ of 100 is _defined_ to be average. So using IQ to compare intelligence at different times is a load of rot. IQ tests just don’t give that kind of information.
Ahh, not quite.
Scaled scores on IQ tests – the “IQ” number are calibrated so that the mean of the distribution is 100 – and they’re generally not subsequently recalibrated. So it’s possible to say that the average IQ has gone up, if you test today’s people against an older IQ test.
Alternatively, you could just check whether the raw scores on one specific test trend higher over time. If they do, then people are getting smarter, compared to the original calibration population.
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