What does a gradual and consistent rise in IQ test scores over several decades say? My kids might really be smarter than me.
If judged solely by their IQ scores, today's kids are smarter thanany generation since testing began -- so smart that many of their great-grandparents would have been found mentally deficient by today's standards.
The gain in IQ scores averages about 3 points per decade. And the increases are beyond debate. Wherever IQ test trends have been studied -- in the United States and 23 other industrialized countries, plus Kenya -- average scores rise over time.
Among the reasons cited were a richer intellectual environment, genes (though this was downplayed somewhat), generally smaller families and testing dexterity. As it turns out kids are making the biggest gains in visual and abstract thinking on standardized tests, due, in part, to the abundance of challenging and interactive games.
Video gaming experience, one author suggests, develops strategy, teamwork (in the case of multi-player games), and critical and abstract thinking. And it just might be training a generation of business leaders.
My two very young sons, one of whom can read roughly 21 words now, are working their way through Planet Snoth in the 1950's-style Sci-Fi game Otto Matic. To get there, they had to rescue the humans from Planet Earth, something I had until very recently been unable to do. "Daddy, daddy, listen, listen. Save one green thing for your rocket pack. Jump on the roll of hay here. The mad tractors can't get you. From the hay you can rocket over the fence to reach the space ship! See! It's easy!
I knew that.