The Flynn Effect and executions


Capital offenders cannot be executed if they are mentally retarded. Therefore, the IQ scores of offenders are important, and the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has held that the Flynn effect is relevant to interpreting their IQ scores. The Flynn effect (IQ gains over time) means that different IQ tests will give different scores purely as a result of when the tests were normed. Because execution must not be a random result of what test defendants take, a formula is provided to convert IQ scores to a common metric: the norms current at the time the test was taken. The formula also includes a correction based on evidence that the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Third Edition inflates IQs because of sampling error. Given the inevitability that opposing experts will offer conflicting diagnoses, IQ scores merit special attention in capital cases.

So society will recognize the relevance of IQ tests to prevent certain people from being executed, but in no other situations?

Would the Flynn Effect suggest that retarded people are getting smarter over time? If this is the conclusion, I would suspect that the Flynn Effect is wrong.


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