Table of contents:

How the modern world is changing our thinking
How the modern world is changing our thinking

In the 21st century, a person has all the conditions to maximize the development of intelligence.

How the modern world is changing our thinking
How the modern world is changing our thinking

We love creative thinking

In the past, creative was synonymous with disorganized. Today we want to see a person creative and free-thinking, we admire when a non-standard approach is found to the task.

There are two methods for solving problems:

  • Analytical - you select solutions, and then determine which one is correct.
  • Intuitive (method of insights) - the solution comes to your head ready-made.

It is difficult to go outside the box trying to solve the problem analytically, but the method of insight is perfect for this.

Scientists have tested Insight solutions are correct more often than analytic solutions both ways and found that the method of insight gives more correct answers than analysis. Brain scans have shown The Origins of Insight in Resting-State Brain Activity: in people solving problems in this way, the anterior cingulate gyrus is activated. This area monitors conflicts between areas of the brain and allows you to identify opposing strategies. With its help, a person can see non-obvious ways to solve a problem and direct attention to them.

In addition, more distracted attention was noted in people during epiphanies. It allows you to see the whole without getting hung up on the specific.

Absent-minded attention is typical for a person in a relaxed state and elated mood. You are not fully focused on the task, but you are not in the clouds either. Perhaps this is why most insights come to people in a comfortable environment, such as in the bathroom. If you have such an insight, with it comes the confidence that the decision is correct. And, judging by the scientific evidence, he should be trusted.

Regardless of which method of solving problems you use, you do it better than your not so distant ancestors.

We are smarter than people who lived 100 years ago

Since 1930, IQ test scores have increased in The Flynn Effect: A Meta-analysis by three points every decade. This trend is called the Flynn Effect, after professor James Flynn who discovered it.

This pattern has several reasons at once:

  • The quality of life has increased. The nutrition of pregnant women and babies has improved, the number of children in the family has decreased. Now people are investing in the development and education of their children until they graduate from the university.
  • Education has improved.
  • The peculiarities of labor have changed. Mental work, as a rule, is valued and paid higher than physical work.
  • The cultural environment has changed. In the modern world, people receive much more stimuli for brain development: books, the Internet, a variety of communication, not limited by the place of residence.
  • People are used to IQ test questions. Since childhood, we have been able to solve such problems and use abstract thinking, so we do it better.

We are much more fortunate than our grandparents, but our children will not necessarily be smarter. The anti-effect of The negative Flynn Effect: A systematic literature review of Flynn has already been discovered in developed European countries: after the 2000s, the growth of intelligence stopped and even began to decline.

Scientists suggest that the impact of the environment on human intelligence has reached its peak: there is simply nowhere better. People already eat well, have one or two children and study until they are 16–23 years old. They can't have fewer children or study longer, so it's no surprise that intelligence has stopped growing.

We have become better at solving problems on paper, but does this affect real life? After all, a person is not a machine, and mistakes often arise from an incorrect assessment of information and the peculiarities of our perception.

We lack critical thinking

People tend to be wrong and see only one side of the problem. One example of this thinking is the availability heuristic, where a person estimates the frequency and possibility of an event by the ease with which examples come to mind.

Using this method, we rely on our memory and do not take into account real statistics. For example, a person is afraid of dying from a terrorist attack or a tornado, but does not even think about a heart attack or cancer. Simply because high-profile incidents are often shown on TV.

These errors include the Judgment under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases anchor effect, when people's decisions are influenced by arbitrary data obtained from the environment. This effect is well demonstrated by the experiment of psychologist Daniel Kahneman (Daniel Kahneman). The subjects were asked to spin the wheel of fortune, on which the number 10 or 65 was randomly dropped. After that, the participants were asked to estimate the percentage of African countries in the UN. People who saw 10 on the wheel always named a lower number than those who got 65, although they knew that this was completely unrelated.

These errors of perception follow us everywhere. Learning to notice them is very important, especially in the modern world, where streams of fake news and myths pour from all sides.

To avoid becoming a victim of illusions, learn to question all information, choose reliable sources, and from time to time evaluate your beliefs, even if they seem to you to be the only true ones.

It is also useful to communicate with a wide range of people to develop critical thinking. We usually reach out to those who share our views. But to develop the habit of critical thinking, we need acquaintances who disagree with us. They will throw a lot of topics for thought and, perhaps, force us to reconsider our beliefs.

Popular by topic