(Medical Xpress) -- Psychologist James Flynn, who resides in New Zealand and is considered one of the foremost experts on intelligence testing, has aroused peoples attention around the world by proclaiming that women are now smarter than men, at least according to a standardized IQ test. Hes been making the rounds, speaking to various reporters in hopes of spurring sales of a new book hes written.
Flynn, who has been researching IQ level data covering the past century, says that most everyone in developed countries has been getting smarter over the years, about three points more on average; which is significant in itself of course. He points out that when IQ tests first came on the scene, women tended to score well below men, oftentimes as much as five points lower. Since that time however, women have been growing smarter at a faster rate than men and now average a point higher. He bases his assertions on the Raven's Progressive Matrices IQ test, which has been given to subjects ranging from ten years of age to thirty, though in this recent go round hes restricted his research to just those fifteen to eighteen years old, presumably the age at which full intelligence has developed, but prior to being degraded by environmental factors.
There is much debate surrounding just how accurate IQ tests are and whether they truly measure how smart a person is; after all, some research has found that some people can raise their scores if paid to do so. Typically, those who score high tend to believe in the results while those that dont suggest it doesnt measure street smarts or other forms of brilliance, such as those who excel in the arts. In any case, such tests are based on a score of 100 as signifying the average persons intelligence level.
Flynn tested 500 males and 500 females from a wide variety of so-called advanced countries such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina and found women scored a half to a whole point higher in all of them. The only exception was Israel, where men still scored a couple of points higher than women. And while he cant say for sure why women seem to be growing smarter than men, he theorizes that its likely due to the roles women now play in society, as compared to earlier times. Nowadays, he notes, women are expected to multi-task, to get jobs and go to work while still raising children. He believes that has caused womens brains to adjust, making them smarter.
Explore further: Study: prison inmate intelligence influences misconduct
via ABC, The Australian.