Human Intelligence Is Declining

December 9, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. first world /fɜrst wɜrld/ (adj.) – referring to countries that are the most developed in the world
Example: Japan is a first world nation known for its successful economy and its technological innovations.

2. persist /pərˈsɪst, -ˈzɪst/ (v.) – to continue to exist even when it is resisted or delayed by opposing forces
Example: The number of students dropping out persisted for four years even when the school cut back the tuition.

3. genetic /dʒəˈnɛt ɪk/ (adj.) – relating to the biological characteristics that one inherits from one’s family
Example: The mother’s and the child’s bright blue eyes are genetic.

4. lapse /læps/ (n.) – a temporary decline or failure of something
Example: The small number of clients during the summer is a lapse that the company has to consider.

5. in time /ɪn taɪm/ (idiom) – in a later but not definite period
Example: He chose to teach in several schools first, so that in time, he can start his own school.


Read the text below.
People today are becoming less intelligent, scientists claim after observing the declining intelligence quotient (IQ) in first world countries.

Various statistics show that the average IQ today has dropped by one point compared with the level of IQ in the last few decades. This recent decline is most apparent in nations such as the United Kingdom, Australia, and Denmark. Experts believe that IQs are likely to decrease further by 1.3 points in the next 40 years should this decline persist.

Most scientists think that the cause of the decline is mainly genetic. According to psychologists, the hereditary potential to be intelligent is diminishing in today’s generation because people of high intellect commonly prefer having fewer children. As a result, modern society is mostly dominated by people who have average intelligence or less.

Because of this, experts believe that the decline marks the end of the Flynn effect during the 1930s and the 1980s. These were the times when the average IQs in first world nations—the United States, Japan, and Denmark in particular—were significantly high, mainly because people at that time had better health, education, and living conditions.

Despite today’s technological progression, scientists are convinced that humankind has reached its highest intellectual capacity. Therefore, the end of the Flynn effect and the decline of IQs in modern times, some say, only prove that the human intellect will only further diminish. However, other scientists believe that the IQ drop is only a lapse, and human intelligence will stabilize in time.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree that people have already reached their intellectual peak? Why or why not?
·         Aside from those stated in the article, what other factors do you think cause or can cause the decline of intelligence? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         Do you agree that people today are becoming less intelligent? Why or why not?
·         What do you think can be done to improve intelligence today? Please explain your answer.

December 9, 2014