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Entertainment From this age on people don't get any more intelligent - say researchers

10:15  31 october  2020
10:15  31 october  2020 Source:   businessinsider.de

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It would take a lot of time to look at all the chess games that an international research team has just evaluated for a new study. The scientists analyzed 24,000 professional games, consisting of around 1.6 million moves that chess professionals made between 1890 and 2014.

The researchers from Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland pursued two goals: They wanted to know how the

intelligence of the players developed in the course of their lives; and they wanted to find out how the cognitive abilities of the early chess professionals differed from those of their peers. To determine this, they compared, for example, a 30-year-old player from 1900 with a 30-year-old player from 1980 or 2014.

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Chess is perfect for this type of intelligence research. "We used data from games in professional chess tournaments because chess is a prime example of a cognitively complex task," says Uwe Sunde from the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. The German is co-author

of study , which has just been published in the “Proceedings” of the US “National Academy of Sciences”. At what age did the players make particularly clever moves?

To find out how cleverly the chess players acted then and now, the researchers compared their real moves - all of which had been neatly recorded - with the "optimal" ones suggested by a chess computer in each individual case. They looked: When did the players' moves deviate from the ideal solution of the computer? And how often did the pros act as cleverly as the computer suggested?

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With the help of a mathematical model, the scientists succeeded in creating a precise course of performance for each player. This enabled them to see at what age their “test subjects” made particularly clever moves, at what phase of life their abilities improved and at what age their cognitive abilities declined. What they were also able to determine was how the average level of player intelligence had developed over the course of the 125 years examined.

From around the age of 35 we don't get any more intelligent

Two things that the researchers discovered are particularly exciting. First: The human cognitive abilities are obviously age-dependent. First of all, we keep getting smarter; then, around the age of 35, the development of our cognition stagnates. Second: The players of a certain age - let's take the 30-year-olds as an example - are more intelligent today than the 30-year-olds 120, 80 or 15 years ago. In relation to the general public, this means that we are cognitively better today than our peers in the past.

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But why is it that today's 30-year-olds have better cognitive abilities than 30-year-olds 100 years ago? The researchers have a plausible explanation for this. "The conditions under which people grow up today have a decisive influence on the development of their cognitive abilities," says economist Uwe Sunde. These modern conditions naturally also include the rapidly developing digital technologies. To cope with them, modern humans are forced to keep up cognitively. No generation of our ancestors was ever required to perform to this extent.

Whether it goes on and on, whether people are becoming more and more intelligent - your model cannot predict that, says Uwe Sunde. He also points out a weakness of his study: it stems from the fact that chess professionals traditionally end their careers around the age of 50, they do not take part in competitions for the rest of their lives.

The fact that the data does not cover the entire life span of the “test persons” could lead to a bias of the result. If it were different, the players would have participated in the chess tournaments their entire lives and the researchers would have been able to evaluate all of these games - then the average intelligence curve would probably have dropped even more in the end, says Uwe Sunde.

  Ab diesem Lebensalter werden Menschen nicht mehr intelligenter — sagen Forscher © Provided by Business Insider Germany Mann spielt Schach © ConvertKit / Unsplash Man playing chess

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usr: 2
This is interesting!