Recent reports comparing the current generation’s IQ scores to that of our grandparents state that the average score now is about 30 points higher than the early 1900s, but is this evidence enough to disprove claims of stupidity levels rising?
Some researchers offer that technology has advanced faster than the population can handle, causing many to fall behind in useful knowledge of everyday information. Older generations especially have a significantly harder time learning about technological advances because it is not how they were raised or what they are used to.
But others point the finger directly at technology, accusing it as being the crutch that hinders people from acquiring and using common sense and practical facts. Being able to rely on Google to answer everything from life’s toughest questions, to how many ounces make up a pound diminishes the need to put effort into retaining any sort of information.
Much of the debate can be boiled down to individuals; their education choices, what they do with their free time and how they decide to obtain news. For instance, this summer I could have actively kept up on World News Tonight, read the paper every day and spent time on CNN.com. However, with no motivation or need to do any of that, instead I caught up on SpongeBob marathons, delved into a risqué trilogy and Facebooked the day away. Whether or not my personal choices contribute to the deterioration of my mental capacity is left to be determined.
Trends and pop culture can be blamed for this, since knowing every detail about the Kardashians is what seems to be the glue holding together the youth of America. In order to relate to others, submitting to popular trends is the easiest method of forming fast friendship and social acceptance.
From my experiences, the probability that you are going to run into someone who would prefer to have a conversation about politics or science instead of Jersey Shore or Tom Cruise is highly unlikely. We are a generation raised with technology, perhaps the first to have been exposed at an early age. Is this the reason for sudden influx of stupidity?
Or could it possibly be that the stupidity epidemic is nothing but a wave of copycats and wannabees who see the acknowledgement and popularity that accompanies idiotic acts that go viral? Popular shows such as Ridiculousness on MTV have to cover their backs with warnings to possible imitators. The reason is simple; stupidity is funny, and funny things easily become popular and can lead to fame. Getting a Web Redemption on Tosh.0 is the ultimate goal for these people, simply because getting recognized for driving an ATV off a roof and landing on a trampoline requires a whole lot less effort than graduating from Harvard.
I for one believe that the assumption that the world is decreasing in certain intelligences is an accurate generalization. But nothing more than that, a seemingly broad overview of how the average person is doing. To say that everyone in the world is getting dumber would be absolutely incorrect. Take a look at the rover landed on Mars and tell me the population is stupid. Then again, ask a stranger on the street their times tables and you may notice that basic intelligence must be what slipped away from us somewhere along the way.