Monday, June 17, 2013

A critical review of Dr. James Flynn's "Are we getting smarter?" book

Dr. James Flynn  recently published a new book entitled "Are we getting smarter?", where he continues to outline his theoretical explanation for the systematic increase in average IQ scores over time due to IQ test norm obsolescence  (a.k.a., the Flynn Effect - click here to visit the Flynn Effect Archive Project).

Although an appealing theoretical explanation, his theory has not meet with universal acclaim, particularly regarding the underlying research methodology and logic that is the foundation of his theory.  In a new APA PsycCITIQUES review of Flynn's new ook, Kaufman, Dillon and Kirsch (2013) present a rather scathing critique of the book ("A beautiful theory, killed by a nasty, ugly little fact").

One of Kaufman et al.'s (2013) multiple criticisms is Flynn's failure to mention an important special issue of the Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment (JPA) re: the Flynn Effect.  In this JPA issue a number of scholars (myself included; McGrew, 2010) provided a number of methodological, theoretical, and logical criticisms of the major data analytic and logical linchipins of Dr. Flynn's theory.  Yet, in his new book he  ignores the critical articles in the JPA special  issue.  Kaufman et al.'s review is a recommended reading for scholars who seek to understand the Flynn Effect and who also seek to appropriately evaluate the strengths and limitations of Flynn's theory.

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