- Sugonyaev, Konstantin, and Andrei Grigoriev. 2019. “Эффект Флинна в России.” Экспериментальная Психология 12 (4): 50–61. [PDF]
This is the latest paper based on Sugonyaev’s n=238,363 database of Russian online test-takers run by the Ministry of Defense.
Refer to my two existing articles on this for more details on methodology:
Here is the keypoint graph from Sugonyaev and Grigoriev’s paper:
This shows a Flynn Effect of ~2 IQ points relative to the late Soviet era, sorting by date of birth.
Note that this broadly tallies with PISA results [see right], in which Russia moved up from a PISA-equivalent IQ of 95 (OECD mean = 100) amongst the ~1985-1994 cohorts (PISA 2000-2009), to around 97-98 by the time of the 1997-2003 cohorts (PISA 2012-2018).
Why might we expect to see a Flynn Effect in Russia?
Even though it has dysgenic reproduction patterns, like any other industrialized countries (and most of the Third World), Russia still hasn’t maximized gains from the environment. In particular, my long-standing thesis is that potential Russian IQ gains were largely nullified during the 1965-2000 period by the late Soviet era alcoholization crisis.
According to an OECD survey of adult cognitive skills c.2012, Russia has the second-lowest difference between the performance of its oldest (55-65 y/o) and youngest (16-24 y/o) cohort of any major industrialized country bar England & Northern Ireland. The Soviet alcoholization crisis began precisely around the mid-1960s, i.e. just around the time those 55-65 y/o’s had physically matured. Intermediate generations were wrecked, despite increasing wealth up through to the end of the USSR. Meanwhile, Russia’s Generation Z is coming of age at a time characterized by (a) alcoholization rates gradually returning to “normal country” levels; (b) greater wealth than any previous Russian generation, subsequent to the post-1998 economic recovery; (c) having had more resources, inc. schooling per capita, than any previous generation on account of the fertility collapse of the 1990s; (d) living in an age of unprecedented information density.
All of these factors would suggest that Russia still had some unrealized Flynn potential, and I predicted as much in a blog post from 2012:
Russian nutrition has already returned to First World levels however; for instance, meat , fish, fruit, etc. consumption is now basically the same as in Europe or the US. This means that in the next decade I expect the Flynn Effect to kick off in Russia’s favor, raising its average IQ levels to their theoretical peak of 100 by the 2020’s.
It is always nice to see one’s predictions coming true.
PS. Could the results be confounded by age effects? To the contrary, the authors site an n=48,537 study by Hartshorne, Germine, 2015 which shows a 0.5z increase in verbal and numerical ability between 20 y/0’s and 40 y/o’s, whereas in this case there is a decline of 0.15z. So if anything, the Flynn gains are substantially understated. This result was even confirmed with Sugonyaev’s data, where it was found that 20 year old respondents born during 1992-1998 displayed a performance increase of 0.31 IQ points per year.