Your Lying Eyes

Dedicated to uncovering the truth that stands naked before your lying eyes.

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25 May 2005

We Are NOT Getting Smarter

Been lots of buzz lately about this new book arguing, among other heretical notions, that TV is making us smarter. Well if we were actually getting smarter there'd be some real-world evidence of it - like, say, some significant technological advances beyond TV and video games. But there hasn't been. We're still driving around in cars, flying in planes, living in houses and apartments and working in office buildings - living pretty much the way people lived 50 years ago. We've actually gotten worse at some things like getting into space and mass transportation.
The alleged proof that we've been getting smarter is the Flynn Effect. While IQ scores are averaged at 100, the actual number of correct answers on IQ tests had been going up decade after decade. While obviously an artifact of testing (since there's been no real world basis for believing we're getting smarter), some pollyannas grabbed onto the Flynn Effect to claim that modern society was lifting all intellectual boats. Now comes evidence the scores have been falling over the last decade. So now we can get back to thinking normal again - TV is junk - it is not making us smarter!


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