Students are getting less intelligent with every generation, finds new studyReuters

The general IQ of people has been found to have dropped since the 1970s, reversing the earlier trend which showed that post-World War Two, people were actually getting smarter. 

A new research published by a duo of researchers from the Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research in Norway has found that the IQ, or Intelligence Quotient -- a score awarded based on tests with a numerical score between 70 and 140. Any score below 70 is classified as being feeble minded and scores over 140 is considered to be genius or near-genius.

Over the first half of the past century, something called the "Flynn Effect" was in place, notes a report on the study by medicalXpress. People started to get smarter in general and apparent brightening of the human mind was attributed to developments in healthcare, education, and nutrition, notes the report. This study, however, found that the Flynn Effect was no longer in effect and that this smartness trend has ended, say researchers Bernt Bratsberg and Ole Rogeberg.

The study involved the comparative analysis of IQ test results given to young men entering the Norwegian draft or Norway's national service, that is compulsory military duty between the years 1970 to 2009. It covered about 730,000 test results. Through this massive cache of data, the trend was clear, say the researchers.

IQ scores awarded to intelligence was found to be on a steady decline. For every generation since the 1970s, test responders lost an average of seven IQ points. This is a clear reversal in trends of test results going back to about 70 years.

Are people simply getting dumber?

The report also mentioned a British study where researchers found a similar decline in IQ of the general population. Test scores were found to be falling by about 2.5 to 4.3 points every decade since the end of World War Two.

Among the factors found by the Norwegian study for this drop in intelligence, a few environmental influences were mentioned. Lifestyle changes of people in general, changes in the education system, the drop in reading habits and even the increase in screen time that children are exposed to on a daily basis could be causing this definite drop in IQ.

Last December, a study from the US found links between the consumption of fish and high IQ scores. Those who ate a lot of fish were found to have better scores, and they had better sleep. All this accounted for better intelligence levels. Children in the modern era were also found to eat hardly any fish.

The study was first published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.