New Study: Are People Getting Dumber?

That’s what a Stanford research says. We want to hear your thoughts, Tampa Bay!

Ever worry there might be something to the plotline in the cult classic movie “Idiocracy?”

You know; the movie where a man from our time is put into hibernation and wakes up 500 years in the future only to discover he’s surrounded by nearly brainless people.

That plotline, according to Stanford University research Gerald Crabtree, isn’t so far-fetched. No, not the hibernation part; the dumbing down of the population part!

Crabtree says our comfortable way of living and lack of evolutionary pressures have given way to a higher incidence of people who are dumber than our forbearers.

"I would be willing to wager that if an average citizen of Athens of 1,000 BC were to appear suddenly among us, he or she would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companions," Crabtree wrote in a study that appeared in Trends in Genetics, according to the Huffington Post. "I would also guess that he or she would be among the most emotionally stable of our friends and colleagues."

While Crabtree has his share of critics in the scientific world, we want to hear from you Tampa Bay!

Do you think people are becoming dumber? Is our instant gratification lifestyle having an impact on our intellect? Share your opinions in the comments section.

Michael D. November 26, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I don't blame the technology as much as I blame the society and how we allow ourselves to become dependent on it. I didn't use a computer or calculator for math until I was in my advanced classes in College because they became an hinderance. It was too easy to accept their answer, and not double check the work. I found I was more accurate without them, because I would double check my work without it.
Deborah Weatherby November 26, 2012 at 05:02 PM
ditto, a misnomer is that kids today have a better grip on technology, with their so called knowledge of computers...but which ones can actually figure out a spreadsheet...or write a paper that actually makes grammatical sense?? Oh yes they can do video games and text each other constantly, but doesn't that get in the way of real communication? I think not, and herein lies the problem, thinking. Technology does all the thinking for us and in the end will end up a society not far from Idiocracy, we have already had two actors as president and one ex wrestler as governor, though I got to say, the entertainment value on the latter was worth it. I was listening the other day to NPR and a professor was talking about how technology allowed him to teach 64,000 at once, really, hows that for one on one education?
Mark S. Hankins November 26, 2012 at 05:05 PM
If the "How to Dig A Hole" article includes an admonition to check with the utilities folks so you don't mangle water, sewer, electrical, telephone, cable or high-speed internet service as well as a bit about trench safety so that nobody becomes a 911 call, then I consider it a victory. As for the dumbing down ... the globalists all use "Getting to Denmark" as a catchphrase for the supposed social and political nirvana to which they aspire. A retired British policeman (now dead) had this to say about Denmark: http://rense.com/general79/brave.htm I hope that's now where we're going. But it looks like it is, unfortunately.
Mark S. Hankins November 26, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Harborite November 26, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Are People Getting Dumber? To answer this question, you just need to read the on-line comment section after any article or story that is posted on-line. Most comments are filled with poor grammar, the lack of proper sentence structure, incoherent logic, and ignorance of most issues. People today generally lack a basic understanding of subjects like government, science, history, math, reasoning, and logic. With our current technology, we have never had more information available to us. However, technology has also given us short attention spans and it has made most of us lazy thinkers with only a superficial understanding of most subjects.
JACOB November 26, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Of course people are getting dumber.....they voted for Obama for president a second term.
JohnJohn November 27, 2012 at 01:02 AM
I think congress has already controlled everyone. As far as pollution - I don't think stupidity is caused all by the environment, but look how slack schools have been from less disipline allowed, to bad behaved teachers, to lack of money for school supplies and/or school buildings. I think technology has made a larger impact on education by making it too easy not to think or solve problems like how we had to do 40 some years ago. One could blame the calculator for a start. Now teachers have to allow kids to refuse to learn as they cannot force them to study or pay attention in class. They are only allowed to fail them so long. It's pathetic. Foreigners have a higher rate of science and math skills - one reason some Americans have trouble qualifying for a high tech jobs.
JohnJohn November 27, 2012 at 01:29 AM
The election tells it all how few people were paying attention to politics - except the ones that wanted to have the govt. take care of them. The govt. wants the rich to pay for the "have nots" which most don't want to work for a living. Take money away from the rich who provide the cos. and/or employment, and bingo - no more cos. exist for anyone to work causing more people to go on welfare. Now our medical care will be forced on us whether or not we can afford it, and if not accepted - one gets fined or penalized. This is a sad America.
Jay Dusek November 27, 2012 at 01:35 AM
Really???? What planet are you on?
Jay Dusek November 27, 2012 at 01:37 AM
My point, exactly! My work here is done.
Lincoln Farnum November 27, 2012 at 12:39 PM
It might have something to do with public education and the amount of money and other priorities we give it. Granted, life is getting more complex and there is more information the average person needs to know, the basics, being kind to and caring for one another do seem to have gotten lost. Under her bio, the author has misspelled 'The Bascis:'. Maybe we all have to many details to manage now.
Robert Saltzman November 27, 2012 at 01:35 PM
In the movie The Sixth Sense Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) tells Dr. Malcom Crowe (Bruce Willis) "I see dead people"...in our current society he would be saying "I see dumb people"....I don't think people are dumb just uninformed and make uniformed decisions. Unwittingly against their own interests, now that’s dumb…
Philip Penrose November 27, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Zhanba35 is a prime example of dumb. Advertising his/her website here. A sample of his/her writing skills: Hello, everybody, the good shoping place, the new season approaching, click in. Welcome to , variety, low price and good quality, and the sales price is low , Move your mouse to work shopping! Hey hey Believe you will love it.
Philip Penrose November 27, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Some people would argue people are brighter for keeping Romney out of office.
Len Roessler November 27, 2012 at 02:23 PM
But surely that was an improvement over voting George The Lesser twice.
Michael D. November 27, 2012 at 02:23 PM
JohnJohn, So what you are saying is that the Rich should pay less as a percentage of income than the middle class. Both the Upper and Lower classes pay on average 14% of their income in taxes. But the Middle Class pays on average 30% of their income on Taxes. Maybe people just want all three classes to pay the same amount. That everyone pays their fair share. It is called an income tax because you are taxed on the income you make, everyone should pay the same percentage. As far as the other stuff you mentioned. Yes the Democrats are the only party that developed those things. I guess the Republican written Affordable Health Care Act is a democrat only idea. Also surprisingly it passed through a Republican House and Senate. My ability to do research and understand how the government works allows me to know these things. Welfare is originally a Republican idea as well... oooh those damn Democrats using the Republican ideas. Mitt Romney wasn't going to do anything to change the system as much as Obama isn't. A Civics and an American Government class would have taught you that. Again proof that our society is getting dumber.
Kim Northrop November 27, 2012 at 04:08 PM
I think a (intelligent) person might want to read up a bit about this completely-unsupported-by-date theory :) http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/2012/11/stanford-university-researcher-says.html and great article on rising IQs--and the relative meaning-- here http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444032404578006612858486012.html
Michael D. November 27, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Kim, It is a relative meaning, but it is the scale that we currently have. Also IQ is just a tool, based on a test in most cases, and like all tests the standard is flawed. If you go by IQ one of the most intelligent people in the world is a porn star. Then again, she did retire as a millionare at age 23.
MAXINE BERTRAM November 27, 2012 at 07:02 PM
People in AMERICA vote for a President to raise taxes and spend more then we take in, not only DUM but STUPID....REPUBLICANS believe to live with in ones means!!!!
-Ed Harris- November 27, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Just the GOP/TeaParty rhetoric alone proves that people have gotten dumber. lol That aside, yes there seems to be trends of "want it now" and that will get you no where fast. Ultra Right Wing Religious influence is finally taking a marked nose-dive which would indicate higher intellect being used but if we were to continue down a path of sole dependence on technology it could affect some select brain functions over time. In my case I have nothing to worry about unless a computer figures out how to install a toilet. In the meantime I am safe.
Goin' Commando November 27, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Maxine Bertram's non-grammatic post, though not its illogical content, is a good answer to the question.
Philip Penrose November 27, 2012 at 09:35 PM
LOL, Commando. ;)
Michael D. November 27, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Maxine, So why is the Republican Congress voting to raise expendatures. Again, Civics and American Government classes. Both parties want you under the need of the government. Which party was it that allowed every phone call, text message, email to be data mined and held by the government to use how and when they feel the need? How do you think we are affording that?
Len Roessler November 27, 2012 at 10:15 PM
When GW Bush called for tax cuts knowing full well that there would be out year funding shortages for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, he gave up on the conservative idea of paying your bills which would have been done with the budget surpluses and when the debt was eliminated, the money that had been used to pay the debt interest would have gone into these accounts. Instead we got deficits that got worse with the cost of two wars and a prescription drug program that didn't allow Medicare to negotiate prices. Result the wealthy got richer while everyone else was stuck with a static to declining standard of living. And now the answer of the Republican Party is leave the wealthy tax rate alone and make everyone else pay by shrinking the programs that benefit them. Considering that Bush never asked anyone to pay for the wars which drove up the debt your comment that "Republicans believe to live with in ones means" is not only grammatically incorrect but brings into question your bona fides to call anyone else stupid.
David Conkle November 27, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Excuse me Maxine, congress controls the purse strings, not the executive branch. And Republican's are just as irresponsible as the Democrats in voting for the programs or policies that have led to thedeficit spending. Obviously, you weren't listening in school when they were attempting to teach you Civics 101 on how the government actually works.
David Conkle November 27, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Yes, we are definately dumbing down as a society. Just look at American student's rankings in comparison to the rest of the free world for math, science etc. This deplorable situation is not getting any better either. While there is much blame to pass around for the "idiocracy" we are becoming, I blame the members of Congress and our two party system for deliberately failing all of us by not ameliorating our failing educational systems. Of course, the masses are much more easily controlled if they are ignorant, uneducated and unable to think critically for themselves.
Carla Gibson November 28, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Channel 10 News (and other local TV news stations) often report "news" stories about such trivial things as "Dancing With the Stars" or "American Idol" . . this is MORE proof that people ARE getting dumber! (including TV news reporters)
-Ed Harris- November 28, 2012 at 01:34 PM
It is refreshing to see so many thought out responses, even if we disagree a bit it's still great! I must say I was hoping to see someone post something like "I's thinks we's is plentie smart nuff & dount like it wen peepole make a big deel bout edchewcashun" just to break the ice. lol.
Michael D. November 28, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Because I was asked the mathematics equation was the following: 40+40x0+1=? Now remember, according to the study only 20% of Americans (over 16) got this right with sample size was over 50,000 last time I checked.
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