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Flynn Effect

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It has been noticed by many researchers that IQ scores over the last century has slowly but steadily increased. A student who scores an average mark today would score slightly above average on a test given 20 years ago, and slightly higher than that on a test from 40 years ago. The reason for this change is not completely understood.

Nobody is sure if the change in IQ scores means a legitimate increase in intelligence or a just a change in the score. Perhaps it is a change in the type of intelligence, or just the fact that more modern people are able to demonstrate the intelligence they have because they are familiar with written tests.

Some research into this has shown what practices can help increase intelligence, or at least the ability to show intelligence when being tested.

– A stimulating environment when young will increase IQ by a few points, and this appears to last well into the adult years.
– Literacy rates correlate will with IQ. People who continue to read, even if they read non-educational fiction, will exercise their brain and have some improvement in mental skills. Reading education material is better, providing the individual is enthusiastic about the subject.
– literacy may increase test results simply because the student knows how to communicate more effectively. Imagine trying to do a test in a foreign language! intelligent individuals do poorly if they cannot read and write.
– Use of computers, which is ubiquitous these days, tends to increase cognitive ability, at least with regards to tests. The individual learns a analytical thinking, which is what tests are about. Some computing (say search engines) encourage lateral thinking – how to find a certain subject when searching.
– Video games seem to increase visual cognitive skills.
– Nutrition increases intelligence, or more precisely, lack of nutrition will cause problems. Those who were raised in poverty a century ago suffered because of poor nutrition. This is less common today.
– Even a lack of one dietary substance, like iodine or B12, can lower intelligence by several points.
– Exercise and healthy benefit intelligence.
– Poor sleep will hinder intelligence, though the relationship here is complex. Some people can be more creative when tired, not being stuck in a rut. But they have better working memory and concentration when full rested for several days.

Most improvement in IQ results over the last century has been at the lower end of the scale. In other words the people at the lower end have increased to be almost average, while the average person has increased only slightly. The very intelligent people have stayed at the same level. This suggests that education and nutrition have bought many people closer to their potential. The more intelligent people were already closer to their potential.

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Tutoring is about getting individuals performing to the best of their potential. This includes finding subject areas that suit them, and being able to effectively communicate what they know.

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