Don’t Know Much about History…

James Flynn of Cambridge University is probably the world’s leading authority on IQ. For example, he is widely recognized as the  discoverer of the “Flynn Effect”, the increase in IQ scores that occurs over time. The fascinating video below is Professor Flynn delivering a TED talk about the subject, how the Flynn effect came to be, and some of the implications of it. 

One factor that is particularly interesting is the way he traces changes in IQ from the world of the concrete to the world of abstraction. Among the important ideas he posits is that the modern world, (let’s say post 1900 or certainly post WW1) is one in which abstractions and therefore counterfactuals are taken seriously. Which is why ignorance of both history and of other cultures (rampant in the West especially among the young) should be cause for concern. 

The 22 minute video, shown below, is well worth a watch. 

James Flynn on “The Flynn Effect”.


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