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NZ Psychologists Mourn Loss Of Renowned Fellow, Teacher And Political Scientist Prof Jim Flynn

New Zealand psychologists are mourning the loss of the internationally-renowned academic and expert on intelligence, University of Otago Emeritus Professor Jim Flynn, who died this week aged 86.

New Zealand Psychological Society (NZPsS) director of scientific issues, Brian Dixon, said the society had lost an esteemed member. Professor Flynn had been an Honorary Fellow since 2003.

“Jim was an intellectual giant in psychology (not his initially chosen career - he was originally a Professor of Politics) a powerhouse of critical research and a prolific publisher. His contribution to psychology has been phenomenal,” comments Dixon.

Professor Flynn established the concept of the Flynn Effect in his field - the substantial and long-sustained increase in both fluid and crystallized intelligence test scores that were measured in many parts of the world over the 20th century.

Originally from Washington, D.C. and educated at the University of Chicago, Flynn emigrated to New Zealand in 1963, where he taught political studies at the University of Otago in Dunedin.

His Wikipedia entry says his books combined political and moral philosophy with psychology to examine problems such as justifying humane ideals and whether it makes sense to rank races and classes by merit.

Prof Flynn was much in demand as a speaker and media commentator and his interview on Radio NZ in June this year was an exemplar of succinct presentation from the acute 86 year-old, according to Dixon.

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