A talk by University of Otago emeritus professor Jim Flynn on
rising IQ levels has been viewed almost 800,000 times after
being put online last week.
Prof Flynn, who gave the ''Ted Talk'' at Long Beach seven
months ago, was excited to have reached such a wide audience.
His talk, entitled ''Why our IQ levels are higher than our
grandparents''', examined why average IQ scores had
substantially increased in the past century. As of yesterday
afternoon, it had been viewed 569,707 times on YouTube and
227,555 on Ted Talks website.
He pointed to the increasing cognitive demands of modern life
as one of the reasons why people were scoring higher on IQ
''We don't just get a few more questions right on IQ tests.
We get far more questions right on IQ tests than each
succeeding generation back to the time that they were
''Indeed, if you score the people a century ago against the
modern norms, they would have an IQ of 70. If you score us
against their norms, we would have an average IQ of 130,''
Prof Flynn said in the talk, which also looked at the link
between rising IQ scores and moral progress.
Prof Flynn became part of a global phenomenon, with the Ted
Talks, by people including former United States president
Bill Clinton and British primatologist Jane Goodall, gaining
more than a billion online viewers.
He believed people were interested in his talk because
hearing that IQ scores had increased by such a wide margin,
and this trend was connected to moral progress, gave people a
''If there is anything that people have as a fixed attitude
it is that somehow we are going downhill morally.
''When you look at the evidence, you find not only has there
been moral progress as well as cognitive progress, but in a
sense the two feed off one another.''
His motivation for giving the talk was the wider audience.
''When I was invited to go to Ted, that of course was the big
incentive, because I think all of my books, all together,
have sold about 55,000 copies. That's spread over about 12 or