Is exposure to visual media related to cognitive ability? Testing Neisser's hypothesis for the Flynn effect


This research was designed to investigate Neisser's (1997) hypothesis that the Flynn effect (rising intelligence scores during the 20th century) is related to increased exposure to the complex visual environment. In Study 1, 35 participants completed a test of mental rotation along with a survey of their exposure to various media activities. Test performance was positively related to 3-D video game exposure but not to the other predictors. In Study 2, 172 participants completed the Culture Fair Intelligence Test (CFIT) and the Wide Range Vocabulary Test (WRVT) along with another media survey. Test performance, particularly on the CFIT, was not related to any of the visual media variables. These nonsignificant results are inconsistent with Neisser's explanation of the Flynn effect.

Journal of Articles in Support of the Null Hypothesis, 9(1), 23-50.