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Humans Are Getting Steadily Smarter, Especially Girls

Duke University researchers who poured over three decades worth of standardized test scores have concluded that general intelligence is on the rise and that girls are narrowing the gender gap. 

What’s the Latest Development?

A team of researchers from Duke University have combed through nearly three decades of standardized test scores concluding that the general level of American intelligence is increasing and that girls are closing the gender gap. The first conclusion drawn by the researchers, that intelligence is steadily increasing, is based on the Flynn effect which states that average IQs around the world have been rising at the rate of 0.3 points a year for the past eight decades. The second conclusion states that part, but not all, of the historic difference between the brainiest men and women has vanished.

What’s the Big Idea?

Whether intelligence is determined more by nature or nurture remains a debate in the scientific community. It is a debate that cannot escape the social implications behind it, such as whether one gender is predisposed to be more intelligent than the other. Concerning the disproportionately quick rise of female intelligence, “[i]t is clear that the rise itself must be ‘nurture’ of some sort—possibly a change in teachers’ attitudes towards girls who are interested in maths—but the subsequent stasis could have either explanation.”

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