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Are cognitive differences between countries diminishing?: Evidence from TIMSS and PISA
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2013 (English)In: Intelligence, ISSN 0160-2896, E-ISSN 1873-7935, Vol. 41, no 6, 808-816 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Cognitive ability differences between countries can be large, with average IQs ranging from approximately 70 in sub-Saharan Africa to 105 in the countries of north-east Asia. A likely reason for the great magnitude of these differences is the Flynn effect, which massively raised average IQs in economically advanced countries during the 20th century. The present study tests the prediction that international IQ differences are diminishing again because substantial Flynn effects are now under way in the less developed "low-IQ countries" while intelligence is stagnating in the economically advanced "high-IQ countries." The hypothesis is examined with two periodically administered scholastic assessment programs. TIMSS has tested 8th-grade students periodically between 1995 and 2011 in mathematics and science, and PISA has administered tests of mathematics, science and reading between 2000 and 2009. In both TIMSS and PISA, low-scoring countries tend to show a rising trend relative to higher-scoring countries. Despite the short time series of only 9 and 16 years, the results indicate that differences between high-scoring and low-scoring countries are diminishing on these scholastic achievement tests. The results support the prediction that through a combination of substantial Flynn effects in low-scoring countries and diminished (or even negative) Flynn effects in high-scoring countries, cognitive differences between countries are getting smaller on a worldwide scale.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2013. Vol. 41, no 6, 808-816 p.
Keyword [en]
Scholastic achievement, TIMSS, PISA, Trend analysis
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-85104DOI: 10.1016/j.intell.2013.03.009ISI: 000327807300008OAI: diva2:691620

Special Issue: The Flynn Effect Re-Evaluated

Available from: 2014-01-28 Created: 2014-01-28 Last updated: 2016-07-01Bibliographically approved

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Woodley, Michael A.
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