The advance of human civilization has also seen an overall increase in intelligence and education levels. However, research conducted at the Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research in Norway has found that intelligence appears to have peaked with those born in the 1970s and has been on the decline ever since.
Some have theorized that as more educated people decide to have smaller families or no family at all and less educated families have more children, IQ levels could drop. In fact, this is the plotline of the cult class film “Idiocracy.” However, the research found that IQ levels were dropping within families as well. Sons were regularly observed having a lower IQ than their fathers, and little brothers scored lower than their older brothers. This suggests that the reason for declining IQs is more likely the result of environmental factors.
From 1975 onwards, each generation has seen its average IQ score decline by about seven points. Problems with the education system, spending too much time on smartphones, and other factors could all be to blame. However, researchers warn that shifts in how people think could actually be to blame. And instead of people getting dumber, the IQ tests themselves could simply be out of sync.
Either way, the results are unsettling, especially given the scope of the research. The research looked at roughly 730,000 different IQ tests gathered from incoming conscripts. Most Norwegian males must serve in the military and as they enter service, they take IQ tests. Similar studies in the UK and elsewhere have also uncovered evidence that IQ scores are declining over time.