- Citation and Abstract
How to make the world smarter.
Mayer, Richard E.
PsycCRITIQUES. Vol 55(4),2010, No Pagination Specified.
Reviews the book, Human intelligence and medical illness: Assessing the Flynn effect by R. Grant Steen (see record
2009-19252-000). The Flynn effect is the empirical finding—first reported by James R. Flynn in 1984 (Flynn, 1984, 1987, 2009)—that average IQ scores have been rising at a substantial rate throughout most of the 20th century in every country for which adequate data are available. Is the Flynn effect real? What is the cause of the Flynn effect? What are the implications of the Flynn effect for improving human intelligence? These are the kinds of questions addressed in this book. The 218-page volume is divided into 13 chapters on topics ranging from whether people are getting smarter, what are the causes of the increase in intelligence test scores, and what are some ways to foster further increases in human intelligence. The author's thesis is that human intelligence is really increasing, that the main cause is an improvement in public health—what can be called the "medical environment" (p. 99)—and that countries that seek to improve the intelligence of their citizenry should invest in improving health care, particularly for children. Steen seeks to back up his conclusions with considerable amounts of research evidence, often grounded in rigorous scientific experiments and quantitative analyses. The book is concise, timely, and generally well written. The author offers a balance between facts and opinions, or between scientific research studies and compassionate analyses of their implications. Looking up a cited reference at the end of the book is a tedious process, and the title of the book may not provide a clear indication of the book's contents. Overall, Human Intelligence and Medical Illness is a thought-provoking book that is well worth reading. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved)
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