Originally posted on TED Blog:

James Flynn points out a fascinating dynamic at TED2013, that we appear to be getting smarter. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

James Flynn points out a fascinating dynamic at TED2013, that we appear to be getting smarter. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

In the 1980s, psychologist James Flynn discovered that, over the past century, our average IQ has increased dramatically. The difference, in fact, is so stark that the phenomenon garnered its own name: the Flynn effect.

In today’s talk, Why our IQ levels are higher than our grandparents’, given at TED2013, Flynn explains that if you scored people a century ago against today’s norms, they’d have an IQ of 70, while if you score us against their norms, we’d have an average IQ of 130. In the years since his original discovery, Flynn has investigated just what this evolution is all about. Hint: our ancestors weren’t on the verge of mental retardation, nor are we all intellectually gifted.

[ted_talkteaser id=1828]Flynn argues that the effect comes down to three types of…

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