The Relationship Between Technology and Intelligence

Over the last thirty years there has been a dramatic rise in IQ levels. The increase seems to coincide a great deal with the technological growth of the last several decades. This increase in IQ is occurring conversely to noted declines in the education system and is averaging twenty points per generation.

These increases are mainly in the area of fluid intelligence. Fluid intelligence is a type of abstract problem solving requiring flexibility. This effect is called the Flynn Effect, and has been observed previously, but the cause has always been elusive, but recent observations correlate it strongly with technology.

Is Technology Making Us Smarter?

Technology obviously has an impact on society, even seemingly trivial inventions like radio and television. The latter is often attributed to decreased intelligence, but it is impossible to argue that media has not accelerated the dissemination of knowledge and news. There may be a lot of “mindless” programs on television today, but there is also an exception amount of educational content readily available.

Calculators and other computational devices have removed a lot of the risk of simple math errors. Before the advent of calculators it was easy to make a careless mistake and essentially ruin an entire problem. Calculators have changed the focus of mathematics away from memorizing computations and more toward more advanced formulaic, problem solving work.

14051122 (1)
Is technology contributing to higher IQs?
This change in emphasis due to a piece of technology can easily be related to the increase in fluid intelligence. Problem solving is a type of much higher level thinking than basic addition, subtraction and so on, which is simply memorization.

Word processors are another piece of technology that appear to relate to increased IQs. They have vastly increased the speed and efficiency of writing. They also removed the worries of bad handwriting affecting academic performance, and as they have become even more advanced they have removed spelling errors as well.

Manual typewriters to electric typewriters to computers – as they developed, intelligence in society has increased along with them. The focus is now on the quality and content of writing, rather than whether their writing is legible and riddled with spelling mistakes. Corrections are easy and take seconds. As with calculators this has also shifted emphasis to more analytical types of thought.

How Gaming Can Contribute to Intelligence

Computer games and video games cause some people a lot of woes, but they are both strongly related to increased spatial intelligence and even perceptual-motor skills. Playing games encourages rapid thinking and reaction times. Even games that are not overtly educational are developing those other areas of intelligence.

IQ tests measure several facets of intelligence and as technology continues to progress we will probably soon see the highest IQ ever recorded emerge from one of the younger generations with technology at their fingertips from birth. Advancing technology is not only causing revisions in educations, but it is also changing how we look at intelligence itself. IQs are increasing but test scores are dropping because the education system cannot keep up with the evolution taking place in technology and how it is affecting thought processes.