Average IQ of College Students Has Dropped 17 Points Since 1939

2024-01-25 09:00:43

This isn’t hard to believe. Just look at schools that are now offering courses on Taylor Swift. Everything has been dumbed down.

Real Clear Science reports:

Why College Students’ Average IQ Has Fallen 17 Points Since 1939

It’s commonly cited that undergraduates are significantly smarter than average, with IQs ranging from 115 to 130. But as a team of Canadian researchers showed in a recently published meta-analysis, that “fact” is woefully out of date.

Conducted by first author Bob Uttl, a psychologist and faculty member at Mount Royal University, and his co-authors Victoria Violo and Lacey Gibson, the meta-analysis aggregated numerous studies measuring college students’ IQs conducted between 1939 and 2022. The results showed that undergraduates’ IQs have steadily fallen from roughly 119 to a mean of 102 today — just slightly above the population average of 100. In short, undergraduates are now no more intelligent on average than members of the general population.

This finding is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, the decrease in undergraduates’ IQs sharply contrasts with the long-observed “Flynn effect,” which describes how IQ scores among the general public have been steadily rising over time. In 1984, James Flynn published a paper showing that Americans’ IQs had risen by about three points per decade over the prior 46 years — an increase that Flynn found was not attributable to recalibrations of IQ tests, which are performed roughly every 15 years. His finding has since been replicated by other researchers, and the climb in IQs appears to have mostly continued (though there are signs it may have reversed in the first two decades of the 21st century).

The recent findings also reflect the notion that being accepted to college today no longer requires the intelligence that it used to — or at least the sort of intelligence measured by an IQ test. While useful, IQ tests are not definitive measures of intelligence. After all, intelligence comes in a variety of forms beyond what questions on a test can reveal.

“The decline in students’ IQ is a necessary consequence of increasing educational attainment over the last 80 years,” the researchers commented. “Today, graduating from university is more common than completing high school in the 1940s.”


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Average IQ of College Students Has Dropped 17 Points Since 1939


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