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SECULAR GAINS IN FLUID INTELLIGENCE: EVIDENCE FROM THE CULTURE-FAIR INTELLIGENCE TEST

  • ROBERTO COLOM (a1) and OSCAR GARCÍA-LÓPEZ (a2)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0021932003000336
  • Published online: 01 January 2003
Abstract

There is no doubt about the reality of the secular increase in cognitive test scores. However, there is disagreement about a key issue: does the observed increase reflect a genuine upward trend in intelligence? Evidence from the Raven test is clear, although there are some doubts about its adequacy as a fine-grained measure of fluid intelligence. Evidence from the so-called ‘method of correlated vectors’ is much less clear. When a crystallized battery is considered, the results leave little doubt: the increase does not reflect gains in general intelligence. However, when a fluid battery is analysed, the increase does reflect gains in general intelligence. The present study uses one of the best available measures of fluid intelligence (the Culture-Fair intelligence test) to provide new evidence for the secular increase in fluid intelligence, beyond the findings from the Raven test and the method of correlated vectors. A total of 4498 Spanish high school students and high school graduates were tested within a time interval of 20 and 23 years, respectively. The results show that there is a clear upward trend in intelligence. Moreover, students show an average increase equivalent to 6 IQ points, while graduates show an average increase of 4 IQ points. Therefore, more selected people (graduates) show a smaller increase than less selected people (students). Some implications are discussed.

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Journal of Biosocial Science
  • ISSN: 0021-9320
  • EISSN: 1469-7599
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-biosocial-science
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