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Professor James Flynn


James R. Flynn is Professor Emeritus at the University of Otago (New Zealand), recipient of the University's Gold Medal for Distinguished Career Research.  As a psychologist, he is best known for the Flynn Effect, the discovery of massive IQ gains from one generation to another. In 2006, Jim gave the Annual Psychometrics Centre Public Lecture Beyond the Flynn Effect: A solution to all outstanding problems - except enhancing wisdom at Trinity Colllege, Cambridge. (Note: a video of this talk is also available on our wiki)

Jim Flynn has been profiled in Scientific American, and The American Psychological Association has devoted a symposium and a book to his research. As a philosopher, his latest book is 'How To Defend Humane Ideals'.  Professor Jeremy Waldron of Columbia has described its treatment of race and class as 'magnificent'.  He has been Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution (Stanford) and Distinguished Visiting Speaker at Cornell. He has been featured in Scientific American and Newsweek and awarded his university's Medal for Distinguished Career Research.

His current research includes:  

  • a report on evidence from many nations showing that females are now doing as well as males on Raven's Progressive Matrices;
  • a series of articles showing the limitations of g or the general intelligence factor - which is at present championed by thinkers such as Arthur Jensen, Ian Deary, and many others;
  • a book for a wide audience showing that no psychological discoveries of the last half century should discourage us from trying to build a society without deep gulfs between the races, genders, or classes
  • looking ahead, an attempt to reconcile philosophy, psychology, and law concerning when we can hold people responsible for their actions.

Key Publications

Flynn, J.R. (1964) The U.S. peace movement. Political Science16:61-80

Flynn, J.R. & Adam, K.M. (1966) A values-oriented course. The Journal of General Education 17:295-310

Flynn, J.R. (1967) American politics:  a radical view.  Auckland, Paul

Flynn, J.R. (1967) America and China: the continuing crisis. In N. Tarling (ed.), China and its place in the world, Auckland, Paul. 64-84

Flynn, J.R. (1968) Jefferson and James. The Australian Journal of Politics and History 14:88-100

Flynn, J.R. (1969) Using the A-bomb: decision by consensus. Historical and Political Studies 1:28-35

Flynn, J.R. (1969) The Asian revolution: what America fears. In The Asian revolution and Australia, Sydney, Association for International Co-operation and Disarmament (1969) 15-26

Flynn, J.R. (1969) U.S. policy in the Far East: alternatives. In The Asian revolution and Australia,Sydney, Association for International Co-operation and Disarmament 59-79. Also in A. Taylor (ed.),Peace, power and politics in Asia, Wellington 168-186

Flynn, J.R. (1973) The price of power: universities in America and New Zealand. Universities Quarterly  27:383-393

Flynn, J.R. (1973) Humanism and Ideology.  London, Routledge (re-issued 2003)

Flynn, J.R. (1974) Do we really want a moral justification of our basic ideals? Inquiry 17:151-173

Flynn, J.R. (1974) The unresolvability of ethical disputes. Philosophical Quarterly 24:337-348

Flynn, J.R. (1976) The realm of the moral. American Philosophical Quarterly 13:273-286

Flynn, J.R. (1979) Kant the price of a justification. Kant-Studien 70:279-311

Flynn, J.R. (1980) Race, IQ, and Jensen.  London, Routledge.

Flynn, J.R. (1982) Lynn, the Japanese, and environmentalism. Bulletin of the British Psychological Society 35:409-413

Flynn, J.R. (1983) Now the great augmentation of the American IQ. Nature 301:655

Flynn, J.R. (1984) The mean IQ of Americans: massive gains 1932 to 1978. Psychological Bulletin95:29-51

Flynn, J.R. (1984) Japanese IQ. Nature 308:222

Flynn, J.R. (1984) Race, IQ, and grandparents. New Scientist 101 (1404):29-31

Flynn, J.R. (1984) IQ gains and the Binet decrements. Journal of Educational Measurement  21:283-290

Flynn, J.R. (1984) Banishing the spectre of meritocracy. Bulletin of the British Psychological Society37:256-259

Flynn, J.R. (1985) Wechsler intelligence tests: do we really have a criterion of mental retardation? American Journal of Mental Deficiency 90:236-244

Flynn, J.R. (1986) Sociobiology and IQ trends over time. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 9:192

Flynn, J.R. (1986) The logic of Kant's derivation of freedom from reason:  an alternative reading to Paton. Kant-Studien 77:441-446

Flynn, J.R. (1987) Massive IQ gains in 14 nations: what IQ tests really measure. Psychological Bulletin 101:171-191

Flynn, J.R. (1987) Causal factors in generational IQ gains. Nature 328:765

Flynn, J.R. (1987) The rise and fall of Japanese IQ. Bulletin of the British Psychological Society40:459-464

Flynn, J.R. (1987) Race and IQ: Jensen's case refuted. In S. Modgil & C. Modgil (eds.), Arthur Jensen: consensus and controversy, Lewes, Sussex, Falmer Press 221-232

Flynn, J.R. (1987) Flynn replies to Nichols. In S. Modgil & C. Modgil (eds.), Arthur Jensen: consensus and controversy, Lewes, Sussex, Falmer Press 234-235

Flynn, J.R. (1987) The ontology of intelligence. In John Forge (ed.), Measurement, realism and objectivity, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, Reidel 1-40

Flynn, J.R. (1988) IQ gains in New Zealand: about race, mental retardation and longitudinal studies. In M. Olssen (ed.), Mental testing in New Zealand: critical and oppositional perspectives, Dunedin, University of Otago Press 128-151

Flynn, J.R. (1988) The decline and rise of Scholastic Aptitude scores. American Psychologist 43:479-480

Flynn, J.R. (1988) Japanese intelligence simply fades away: a rejoinder to Lynn. The Psychologist9:348-350

Flynn, J.R. (1989) Rushton, evolution and race: an essay on intelligence and virtue. The Psychologist2:363-366

Flynn, J.R. (1989) Chinese Americans: evidence that IQ tests cannot compare ethnic groups. Bulletin of the International Test Commission 28-29:8-20

Flynn, J.R. (1989) Raven’s and measuring intelligence:  the tests cannot save themselves. Psychological Test Bulletin 2:  58-61

Flynn, J.R. (1990) Massive IQ gains on the Scottish WISC: evidence against Brand et al.’s hypothesis. The Irish Journal of Psychology 11:41-51

Flynn, J.R. (1990) Explanation, evaluation and a rejoindre to Rushton. The Psychologist 3:199-200

Flynn, J.R. (1991) Reaction times show that both Chinese and British children are more intelligent than one another. Perceptual and Motor Skills 72:544-546

Flynn, J.R. (1991) Asian Americans: achievement beyond IQ.  Hillsdale, NJ, Erlbaum

Flynn, J.R. (1992) Postmodernism and empiricism: no substitute for moral principles. Political Theory Newsletter 4:138-154

Flynn, J.R. (1992) Cultural distance and the limitations of IQ. In J. Lynch, C. Modgil, & S. Modgil (eds.), Education for cultural diversity: convergence and divergence, London, Falmer Press 343-360

Flynn, J.R. (1992) Flynn replies to Lynn. In J. Lynch, C. Modgil, & S. Modgil (eds.), Education for cultural diversity: convergence and divergence, London, Falmer Press 378-382

Flynn, J.R. (1993) Derrida: what does he believe? Political Theory Newsletter 5:180-181

Flynn, J.R. (1993) Skodak and Skeels: the inflated mother-child IQ gap. Intelligence 17:557-561

Flynn, J.R. (1994) Giving g a fair chance: how to define intelligence, survive falsification, and resist behaviorism. Psychological Inquiry 5:202-208

Flynn, J.R. (1994) IQ gains over time. In R.J. Sternberg (ed.), The encyclopedia of human intelligence, New York, Macmillan 617-623

Flynn, J.R. (1995) The Alliance vote: an application of the three-cultures hypothesis. Political Science47:35-59

Flynn, J.R. (1996) Group differences: is the good society impossible? Journal of Biosocial Science28:573-585

Flynn, J.R. (1996) What environmental factors affect intelligence: the relevance of IQ gains over time. In D.K. Detterman (ed.), Current topics in human intelligence, Volume 5, the environment, Norwood NJ, Ablex 17-29

Flynn, J.R. (1996) Scotts, the physiological correlates of IQ, and the Milwaukee Project. In D.K. Detterman (ed.), Current topics in human intelligence, Volume 5, The environment, Norwood NJ, Ablex 197-210

Flynn, J.R. (1998) WAIS-III and WISC-III: IQ gains in the United States from 1972 to 1995; how to compensate for obsolete norms. Perceptual and Motor Skills 86:1231-1239

Flynn, J.R. (1998) Rising IQ scores: implications for the elderly. Australasian Journal on Ageing17:106-107

Flynn, J.R. (1998) Israeli military IQ tests: gender differences small; IQ gains large. Journal of Biosocial Science 30:541-553

Flynn, J.R. (1998) The schools: IQ tests, labels, and the word “intelligence”. In J.S. Carlson, J. Kingma, & W. Tomic (eds.), Advances in cognition and educational practice, Volume 5, Conceptual issues in research on intelligence, London, JAI Press 13-42

Flynn, J.R. (1998) IQ gains over time: towards finding the causes. In U. Neisser (ed.), The rising curve: long term gains in IQ and related measures, Washington DC, American Psychological Association 25-66

Flynn, J.R. (1999) Evidence against Rushton: the genetic loading of WISC-R subtests and the causes of between-group IQ differences. Personality and Individual Differences 26:373-379

Flynn, J.R. (1999) Reply to Rushton: a gang of gs overpowers factor analysis. Personality and Individual Differences 26:391-393

Flynn, J.R. (1999) Searching for justice: the discovery of IQ gains over time. American Psychologist54:5-20

Flynn, J.R. (2000) IQ gains and fluid g. American Psychologist 55:543

Flynn, J.R. (2000) How to defend humane ideals: substitutes for objectivity.  Lincoln, Nebraska,   University of Nebraska Press 

Flynn, J.R. (2000) The hidden history of IQ and special education: can the problems be solved? Psychology, Public Policy, and Law 6:191-198

Flynn, J.R. (2000) IQ trends over time: intelligence, race, and meritocracy. In K. Arrow, S. Bowles, & S. Durlauf (eds.), Meritocracy and economic inequality, Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press 35-60

Flynn, J.R. (2000) IQ gains, WISC subtests, and fluid g: g theory and the relevance of Spearman's hypothesis to race (followed by Discussion). In G.R. Bock, J.A. Goode, & K. Webb (eds.), The nature of intelligence (Novartis Foundation Symposium 233), New York, Wiley 202-227.

Dickens, W.T. & Flynn, J.R. (2001) Great leap forward:  a new theory of intelligence.  New Scientist, 21 April, 2001:44-47

Dickens, W.T. & Flynn, J.R. (2001) Heritability estimates versus large environmental effects:  the IQ paradox resolved.  Psychological Review 108:346-369

Dickens, W.T. & Flynn, J.R. (2002) The IQ paradox is still resolved: Reply to Loehlin and Rowe and Rodgers. Psychological Review 109:764-771

Flynn, J.R. (2003) Movies about intelligence: the limitations of g Current Directions in Psychological Science 12:95-99

Flynn, J.R. (2004) The sociology of IQ: enhancing cognitive skills. In M. Olssen (ed.), Culture and learning: access and opportunity in the curriculum.  Greenwich, CT, Information Age Publishing (2004) 257-278.

Flynn, J.R. (2005) The IQ debate. In C. Mitcham (ed.), The enclyclopedia of science, technology, and ethics. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA Vol 2, 1057-1061.

Flynn, J.R. (2006) Tethering the elephant: capital cases, IQ, and the Flynn Effect. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law 12:170-178

Flynn, J.R. and Jensen, A. (2006) In Encyclopedia of race and racism. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale

Breslau, N., Dickens, E.L, Flynn, J.R., Peterson, E.L. & Lucia, V.C. (2006) Low birthweight and social disadvantage: tracking their relationship with children's IQ during the period of school attendance.Intelligence 34:351-362

Flynn, J.R. (2006) O efeito Flynn: repensando a inteligência e aquilo que a afeta [The Flynn Effect:Rethinking intelligence and what affects it]. In C. Flores-Mendoza & R. Colom (eds.),Introdução à Psicologia das Diferenças Individuais. Porto Alegre: ArtMed 387-411.

Dickens, W.T. & Flynn, J.R. (2006) Black Americans reduce the racial IQ gap: evidence from standardization samples. Psychological Science 17:913-920

Dickens, W.T. & Flynn, J.R. (2006) Common ground and differences. Psychological Science 17:923-924)

Flynn, J.R. (2006) Towards a theory of intelligence beyond g. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 29:132-133

Flynn, J.R. (2007) What is intelligence?Beyond the Flynn Effect. Cambridge University Press.