What Is the Flynn Effect?


    The Flynn Effect refers to a rise in IQ scores of about 3 points per decade throughout the industrialized world. This elevation of IQ's has been occurring at least since intelligence tests first appeared in 1916, and is thought to have begun in the latter 19th century. Questions that measure vocabulary, general information and arithmetic proficiencies have shown little or no gain over the past 85 years, with virtually all the increases occurring in non-verbal areas  There, the gains have amounted to 5-to-6 points per decade.
    As a result of this ~25-point long-term gain in IQ scores, the average IQ of a representative cohort of individuals in 1916 would be about 75 on a test standardized today (e. g., the Fifth Revision of the Stanford Binet Test, due to appear early in 2003). Conversely the average IQ obtained on the 1916 Stanford Binet IQ Test should be 133 (100 X 100/75).