Are People Getting Smarter?

Part of the The Springer Series on Human Exceptionality book series (SSHE)


We have gone from solitary computers to a buzzing internet in a few years, from horse-drawn carriages to motor-driven cars in a few generations, from standing on the ground to landing on the moon in a century, from tribes to nations in a millennium, from the law of the jungle to the rule of the law in a few millennia. If one thinks of human culture as a kind of collective intelligence, then it is clear that our collective intelligence is growing very rapidly. The rate of human progress is simply astounding, especially when compared with the rate of cultural change in other creatures widely recognized as intelligent. While we have formed tribes, then kingdoms, then nations, and finally alliances between nations, chimpanzees have continued to live in small family groups. While we have built houses, then towns, then cities, and finally metropolises, dolphins have built nothing tangible at all. While we have learned to speak, then to debate, then to write, and finally to collect writing in libraries, elephants have not progressed past the level of fairly simple vocalizations. While we have made hollowed logs, then violins, and finally symphonies, whales have continued to sing their same simple songs. The rapidity of change in the human culture argues that the brain itself – the substrate of our intelligence – must also be changing. Yet, there is other and far more direct evidence that the brain is changing; human intelligence appears to be increasing.


Intelligence Quotient Intelligence Test Human Intelligence Collective Intelligence Intelligence Quotient Test 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Medical Communications Consultants, LLCChapel HillUSA

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