September 24, 2008

Nutrition behind Flynn effect?

The Flynn effect is the improvement of IQ scores over time, with people born more recently tending to score higher than the average of previous generations. This paper suggests that better nutrition of pregnant women and infants is behind this phenomenon.

Intelligence doi: doi:10.1016/j.intell.2008.07.008

What has caused the Flynn effect? Secular increases in the Development Quotients of infants

Richard Lynn


Results of five studies show that during the second half of the twentieth century there were increases in the Development Quotients (DQs) of infants in the first two years of life. These gains were obtained for the Bayley Scales in the United States and Australia, and for the Griffiths Test in Britain. The average of 19 data points is a DQ gain of approximately 3.7 DQ points per decade. Similar gains of approximately 3.9 IQ points per decade have been present among preschool children aged 4–6 years. These gains are about the same as the IQ gains of school age students and adults on the Wechsler and Binet tests. This suggests that the same factor has been responsible for all these secular gains. This rules out improvements in education, greater test sophistication, etc. and most of the other factors that have been proposed to explain the Flynn effect. It is proposed that the most probable factor has been improvements in pre-natal and early post-natal nutrition.


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