James Flynn challenges our fundamental assumptions about intelligence.
Why you should listen
Year over year, people fare better on standardized tests, a global phenomenon known as the Flynn Effect. James Flynn, the New Zealand-based researcher who discovered this, believes that environmental factors play a greater role in intelligence than genetics does.
His latest findings, discussed in his 2012 book Are We Getting Smarter?, also suggest that women are not only as intelligent as men, but superior when it comes to executive function. “Women, when exposed to modernity, do equal men for IQ,” Flynn said to TV ONE’s Greg Boyed. “But in the formal educational setting where they apply their intelligence, they’re outperforming men all hollow.”
Flynn, a retired university professor, has written extensively about the connection between ongoing equality and IQ gains, democracy and human rights. He also wrote a compelling book about books, The Torchlight List, in which he lists 200 must-reads.
What others say
“Mr. Flynn is accustomed to puzzling questions. After uncovering one of the most intriguing mysteries surrounding intelligence research — that each generation has significantly higher I.Q. scores than the previous one — he has spent more than 25 years trying to explain why.” — Patricia Cohen, The New York Times