STUDY ALERT: The rule-dependence model explains the commonalities between the Flynn effect and IQ gains via retesting

by Scott Barry Kaufman, December 6, 2013 in Study Alerts

The rule-dependence model explains the commonalities between the Flynn effect and IQ gains via retesting 

Elijah L. Armstrong and Michael A. Woodley

We present a new model of the Flynn effect. It is proposed that Flynn effect gains are partly a function of the degree to which a test is dependent on rules or heuristics. This means that testees can become better at solv- ing ‘rule-dependent’ problems over time in response to changing environments, which lead to the improve- ment of lower-order cognitive processes (such as implicit learning and aspects of working memory). These in turn lead to apparent IQ gains that are partially independent of general intelligence. We argue that the Flynn ef- fect is directly analogous to IQ gains via retesting, noting that Raven’s Progressive Matrices is particularly sensi- tive to both the effects of retesting and the Flynn effect. After an extensive review of the relevant supporting literature, we test our thesis by developing a rule-dependence typology and then correlate the vector of a test’s position in the typology with the vector of the Flynn effect that it yields. We find a significant vector correlation of r ~ .60 (N = 14). Finally, we make a number of novel and testable predictions based on our model.

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