Wednesday, December 19, 2007

People Are Getting Smarter and Dumber, Says New Yorker Magazine

In last week's New Yorker magazine, Malcolm Gladwell reviewed James Flynn's new book, What Is Intelligence, in which Flynn provides strong evidence that average I.Q. is increasing over time worldwide. (Review here, while the link lasts.) Both Flynn and Gladwell use Flynn's data to debunk claims about inherent racial differences in IQ and, more broadly, to question what exactly it is that IQ tests measure. What IQ tests measure, they both say, is the capacity for abstract as opposed to concrete reasoning, a capacity that is progressively developed and rewarded as societies move from pre-industrial to industrial to post-industrial. Thus differences between populations within societies can be accounted for by socio-economic conditions without any need to posit inherent and inheritable differences.

Meanwhile, in this week's New Yorker, Caleb Crain writes an essay about the global decline of reading, attributable largely to the increase of tv viewing. (The data show some reversals due to internet use, but Crain speculates that with the growth of YouTube and like sites, the internet may come to resemble tv.) People who read, Crain says, become more adept at thinking abstractly.

Gladwell and Crain describe strikingly similar experiments that suggest they are talking about the same phenomenon, but with exactly opposite conclusions. Here's Gladwell on IQ:
The psychologist Michael Cole and some colleagues once gave members of the Kpelle tribe, in Liberia, a version of [a key component of the IQ] test: they took a basket of food, tools, containers, and clothing and asked the tribesmen to sort them into appropriate categories. To the frustration of the researchers, the Kpelle chose functional pairings. They put a potato and a knife together because a knife is used to cut a potato. “A wise man could only do such-and-such,” they explained. Finally, the researchers asked, “How would a fool do it?” The tribesmen immediately re-sorted the items into the “right” categories. It can be argued that taxonomical categories are a developmental improvement—that is, that the Kpelle would be more likely to advance, technologically and scientifically, if they started to see the world that way. But to label them less intelligent than Westerners, on the basis of their performance on that test, is merely to state that they have different cognitive preferences and habits. And if I.Q. varies with habits of mind, which can be adopted or discarded in a generation, what, exactly, is all the fuss about?
Now here's Crain on literacy:
[I]n 1974 . . . Aleksandr R. Luria, a Soviet psychologist, published a study based on interviews conducted in the nineteen-thirties with illiterate and newly literate peasants in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Luria found that illiterates had a “graphic-functional” way of thinking that seemed to vanish as they were schooled. In naming colors, for example, literate people said “dark blue” or “light yellow,” but illiterates used metaphorical names like “liver,” “peach,” “decayed teeth,” and “cotton in bloom.” Literates saw optical illusions; illiterates sometimes didn’t. Experimenters showed peasants drawings of a hammer, a saw, an axe, and a log and then asked them to choose the three items that were similar. Illiterates resisted, saying that all the items were useful. If pressed, they considered throwing out the hammer; the situation of chopping wood seemed more cogent to them than any conceptual category. One peasant, informed that someone had grouped the three tools together, discarding the log, replied, “Whoever told you that must have been crazy,” and another suggested, “Probably he’s got a lot of firewood.”
So, at exactly the same time that people in developed countries are becoming less literate, and therefore should be losing their ability to reason abstractly, their performance on IQ tests improves. I don't know what explains these apparently contradictory results but it would have been helpful if someone at the editorial staff of the New Yorker had at least noticed the oddity.

Posted by Mike Dorf


egarber said...

When it comes to internet reading, I can't help but think the habits are more "blurby" than when reading a newspaper or a book.

Therefore, I wonder if internet reading is really the kind of deep engagement people tend to associate with traditional reading behavior.

Of course, I have no evidence here -- but I do know that there's no way I could read say, a full court case, on-line. I gotta have the physical copy.

egarber said...

BTW, speaking of reading, I need to recommend Walter Isaacson's Einstein biography. It came out this year -- I'm about half-way through. Well done, I think.

Prof Dorf (thinking): "what the hell is this guy doing -- turning DOL into a book club?"

Carl said...

So, at exactly the same time that people in developed countries are becoming less literate, and therefore should be losing their ability to reason abstractly, their performance on IQ tests improves.

The example you cite from the Crain article shows at most that people who can read are better at the kind of abstract reasoning demanded by IQ tests than people who cannot read. It doesn't follow from this that people who read more than others will become correspondingly better at the kind of abstract thinking these tests demand. If they do, I suspect this has more to do with what they are reading (e.g. texts which demand or exhibit abstract reasoning) than how much they are reading (compulsively reading trashy romance novels may make a person a faster/better reader, but I doubt it would have any significant impact on the reader's ability to master an IQ test). But if this is true, then perhaps the reason we are seeing IQ scores go up in (post-) industrial societies even as the amount of time literate people spend reading declines is that they are being engaged in abstract thought in other ways and through other media.

Carl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
路傑 said...

免費A片, ut聊天室, AV女優, 美女視訊, 免費成人影片, 成人論壇, 情色交友, 免費AV, 線上a片, 日本美女寫真集, 同志聊天室, 聊天室交友, 成人文章, 成人圖片區, 色情網站, 辣妹視訊, 美女交友, 微風成人區, 色美媚部落格, 色情影片, 成人影片, 成人網站, 免費A片, 上班族聊天室, A片,H漫, 18成人, a漫, av dvd, 一夜情聊天室, 微風成人, 成人圖片, 成人漫畫, 情色網, 日本A片, 免費A片下載, 性愛, 成人交友, 嘟嘟成人網, 嘟嘟成人網, 成人貼圖, 成人電影, 成人, 中部人聊天室, 080中部人聊天室, 成人貼圖, 成人小說, 成人文章, 成人圖片區, 免費成人影片, 成人遊戲, 微風成人, 愛情公寓, 成人電影, A片, 情色, 情色貼圖, 情色文學, 做愛, 成人遊戲, 成人影城, 色情聊天室, 色情小說, 一葉情貼圖片區, 情色小說, 色情, 寄情築園小遊戲, 色情遊戲, 成人網站, 麗的色遊戲, 色情網站, 成人論壇, 情色視訊, 情色電影, aio交友愛情館, 言情小說, 愛情小說, 色情A片, 情色論壇, 自拍, 癡漢, , 俱樂部, 豆豆聊天室, 聊天室, 色情影片, 視訊聊天室, 免費視訊聊天, 免費視訊, 視訊交友90739 情人視訊網影音視訊聊天室 免費視訊聊天室 視訊聊天 視訊交友 美女視訊 視訊美女 視訊 免費視訊 免費視訊聊天 視訊聊天室 辣妹視訊 一夜情 色情a片 aio交友愛情館 情色電影 情色視訊 色情遊戲 色情 情色小說 一葉情貼圖片區 色情小說 色情聊天室 情色交友 成人論壇 成人網站 色情網站 情色論壇 小高聊天室 女同志聊天室 6K聊天室 080苗栗人聊天室 080聊天室 聊天室尋夢園 UT男同志聊天室 男同志聊天室 尋夢園聊天室 UT聊天室 聊天室 豆豆聊天室 A片 成人電影 成人貼圖 嘟嘟成人網 美女交友 本土自拍 成人交友 成人影片

kutyhgvd said...

I am so happy to get some kal geons and the kal gold is given by my close friend who tells me that the kal online geons is the basis to enter into the game. Therefore, I should kal online gold with the spare money and I gain some kalonline Geons from other players.

. said...

酒店喝酒,禮服店,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,制服店,便服店,鋼琴酒吧,兼差,酒店兼差,酒店打工,伴唱小姐,暑假打工,酒店上班,日式酒店,舞廳,ktv酒店,酒店,酒店公關,酒店小姐,理容院,日領,龍亨,學生兼差,酒店兼差,酒店上班,酒店打工,禮服酒店,禮服店,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,經紀 彩色爆米花,經紀人 彩色爆米花,酒店傳播,酒店經紀 彩色爆米花,爆米花,童裝,童裝拍賣,童裝大盤,童裝寄賣,童裝批貨,酒店,酒店,童裝切貨,酒店,GAP童裝,酒店,酒店 ,禮服店 , 酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,招待所,

. said...

酒店喝酒,禮服店,酒店小姐,制服店,便服店,鋼琴酒吧,兼差,酒店兼差,酒店打工,伴唱小姐,暑假打工,酒店上班,日式酒店,ktv酒店,酒店,酒店公關,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,酒店上班,酒店打工,禮服酒店,禮服店,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,經紀 彩色爆米花,經紀人 彩色爆米花,酒店傳播,酒店經紀 彩色爆米花,爆米花,童裝,童裝拍賣,童裝大盤,童裝寄賣,童裝批貨,酒店,酒店,童裝切貨,酒店,GAP童裝,酒店,酒店 ,禮服店 , 酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,招待所,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店上班,暑假打工,酒店公關,酒店兼職,酒店經紀

wsty said... .
[url=]puma shoes[/url]
[url=]chaussures puma[/url]
[url=]nike air max ltd[/url]

酒店經紀ㄚ君姐姐 said...


freefun0616 said...

酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店小姐兼職, 便服酒店經紀, 酒店打工經紀, 制服酒店工作, 專業酒店經紀, 合法酒店經紀, 酒店暑假打工, 酒店寒假打工, 酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店小姐兼職, 便服酒店工作, 酒店打工經紀, 制服酒店經紀, 專業酒店經紀, 合法酒店經紀, 酒店暑假打工, 酒店寒假打工, 酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店小姐兼職, 便服酒店工作, 酒店打工經紀, 制服酒店經紀,,

Kitty said...

凄い人気の学生でも1日5000円以上稼げるが良いみたいです。稼ぐための参考サイト育児中の主婦でも時給4000円以上稼げるです。→かけ持ち 高報酬チャットレディ募集サイトが参考になりました♪凄い育児中の主婦に人気の携帯仕事を参考に★楽々稼げるメールレディーを楽しんでね。稼ぐための参考サイト服装自由☆稼げる携帯チャットレディで貴重なサイトを知れて良かったです!くちこみで評判の自由な時間に稼げる携帯仕事に移動、皆さんにお勧めしたい30代女性に人気の高収入チャットレディーを楽しんでね。→OL・主婦でも月50万以上稼げるを見ました。優良情報満載30代女性でも1日1万以上稼げるはすごく良かった、皆さんにお勧めしたい好きな時間に稼げる携帯ライブチャットレディーです。優良情報が見放題手軽に稼げる携帯ライブチャットレディーがいい感じ、マル秘情報満載子持ち主婦 高収入メールレディーを楽しんでね。マル秘情報満載OL 稼ぎやすい在宅バイト を楽しんでね。オススメのママさんに人気の高収入チャットレディーです。役立つ子育て中の主婦 高収入自宅バイト募集は楽しいね。凄い昼間だけでも稼げるアルバイトがいい感じ、優良情報満載初めての方 稼ぎやすいチャトレ はとてもよろしいと思いました。おすすめ優良育児中の主婦 稼ぎやすい在宅バイト で幸せな生活を取り戻しました。★素人 高収入自宅バイト求人募集だね^^素敵なサイト家族に内緒で稼げる 携帯メールレディーだね^^素敵なOLに人気の高収入アルバイトが1番良かったです!!人気の育児中の主婦に人気の高収入チャットレディーを参考にしてみてね★優良モバイルサイトノンアダルトでも稼げる携帯チャットレディーが参考になりました♪某掲示板でも評判の職歴不問☆稼げる携帯メールレディがいい感じ、人気の子育て中の主婦 高収入パート募集を楽しんでね。役に立つ恋人に内緒で稼げる 自宅バイトを楽しんでね。くちこみで評判の学生・フリーター 高収入自宅バイト募集が参考になりました♪