Bringing Intelligence to Life

This talk will address (1) which factors in the life course contribute to intelligence differences in older age, and (2) how and why intelligence in childhood associates with life-course health, illness, and longevity. Many of the results are based on our follow-up studies of the Scottish Mental Surveys of 1932 and 1947, in which Scotland’s Council for Research in Education tested the intelligence of the whole nation, twice. We have used the data for two programs of work, in cognitive ageing and in cognitive epidemiology. We sometimes find that our preconceptions of the causal direction between life and intelligence are wrong: Intelligence-life associations are not as tractable as our two, conceived-as-separate research programs presumed.

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