To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
We investigate the link between genes, psychological traits, and political engagement using a new data set containing information on a large sample of young German twins. The TwinLife Study enables us to examine the predominant model of personality, the Big Five framework, as well as traits that fall outside the Big Five, such as cognitive ability, providing a more comprehensive understanding of the underpinnings of political engagement. Our results support previous work showing genetic overlap between some psychological traits and political engagement. More specifically, we find that cognitive ability and openness to experience are correlated with political engagement and that common genes can explain most of the relationship between these psychological traits and political engagement. Relationships between genes, psychological traits, and political engagement exist even at a fairly young age, which is an important finding given that previous work has relied heavily on older samples to study the link between genes, psychological traits, and political engagement.
Social disadvantage consistently predicts both self-reported distress and clinically diagnosed disorders such as depression. Yet, many individuals who are exposed to disadvantage do not report high levels of distress. This study extends our recent work showing that high cognitive ability may protect against the negative health consequences of exposure to disadvantaged backgrounds. We test whether this ‘buffer effect’ exists across clinically relevant indices of mental health in a population-representative sample.
In total, 27 985 participants were drawn from the UK Household Longitudinal Study (Understanding Society). Clinical diagnoses of depression and clinically relevant measures of psychological distress [i.e. Short Form-12 (SF-12) Mental Component, General Health Questionnaire (GHQ)] and trait neuroticism were assessed. Cognitive ability was derived from performance on word recall, verbal fluency and numerical ability tasks. Early-life disadvantage was gauged using family background measures assessing parental education and occupation at age 14.
Background disadvantage predicted increased levels of reported psychological distress and neuroticism. These associations were moderated by cognitive ability. Across all available mental health measures, the negative association between early-life disadvantage and poor adult mental health was strongest at low (−1 s.d.) cognitive ability and was no longer evident at high (+1 s.d.) levels of cognitive ability.
The results provide support for a cognitive buffering hypothesis linking high cognitive ability to a decrease in the magnitude of the social gradient in mental health. Those disadvantaged by both low socioeconomic status and low cognitive ability may benefit from targeted prevention and treatment programmes aiming to reduce socioeconomic disparities in mental health.
As a response to the ageing population, the United Kingdom (UK) government, like many others, has increased the State Pension Age. This has involved equalising women's State Pension Age with men's, raising it from 60 to 65, with further increases already underway. It has been argued that a key issue with how this change has been implemented is the lack of notice the government gave to the women affected, impacting on their ability to plan for retirement. So far, there has been very little research exploring inequalities in awareness of these developments and, in particular, considering whether women of particular socio-economic backgrounds are less likely to know about the changes. This has implications for potentially further widening inequalities in old age. In this paper we analyse data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. We consider the role of cognitive ability in mediating the relationship between socio-economic background and awareness, given recent debates on deficiencies in financial literacy. We find that socio-economic inequalities exist, especially with respect to labour force status, occupation and education. We also find that cognitive ability, especially numeracy, mediates a sizeable proportion of the relationship. These findings have important implications in terms of implementing future policy changes and awareness campaigns to help mitigate the possibility that they will further entrench inequalities in older age.
Being breastfed in infancy has been shown to benefit neurodevelopment. However, whether the benefits persist to old age remains unclear.
We examined the associations between breastfeeding and its duration on cognitive ability in young adulthood and old age, and on aging-related cognitive change over five decades. In total, 931 men from the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study born in 1934–1944 in Finland took the Finnish Defence Forces Basic Intellectual Ability Test (total and verbal, arithmetic and visuospatial subtest scores) twice, at ages 20.2 and 67.9 years, and had data on breastfeeding (yes v. no) and its duration (‘never breastfed’, ‘up to 3’, ‘3 to 6’ and ‘6 or more months’). Linear and mixed model regressions tested the associations.
At 20.2 years, breastfed men had higher cognitive ability total and visuospatial subtest scores [mean differences (MDs) ranged between 3.0–3.9, p values < 0.013], and its longer duration predicted higher cognitive ability total and arithmetic and visuospatial subtest scores (MDs ranged between 3.0 and 4.8, p values < 0.039). At 67.9 years, breastfed men had higher total cognitive ability and all subtest scores (MDs ranged between 2.6 and 3.4, p values < 0.044) and its longer duration predicted all cognitive ability scores (MDs ranged between 3.1 and 4.7, p values < 0.050). Verbal subtest scores decreased over five decades in men who were never breastfed or were breastfed for 3 months or less, and increased in those breastfed for longer than 3 months.
Neurodevelopmental advantages of breastfeeding and its longer duration persist into old age, and longer duration of breastfeeding may benefit aging-related change, particularly in verbal reasoning ability.
Here I briefly delineate my view about the main question of this International Seminar, namely, what should we expecting from the XXI Century regarding the advancements in intelligence research. This view can be summarized as ‘The Brain Connection’ (TBC), meaning that neuroscience will be of paramount relevance for increasing our current knowledge related to the key question: why are some people smarter than others? We need answers to the issue of what happens in our brains when the genotype and the environment are integrated. The scientific community has devoted great research efforts, ranging from observable behavior to hidden genetics, but we are still far from having a clear general picture of what it means to be more or less intelligent. After the discussion held with the panel of experts participating in the seminar, it is concluded that advancements will be more solid and safe increasing the collaboration of scientists with shared research interests worldwide. Paralleling current sophisticated analyses of how the brain computes, nowadays science may embrace a network approach.
Impairments in key neuropsychological domains (e.g. working memory, attention) and social cognitive deficits have been implicated as intermediate (endo) phenotypes for bipolar disorder (BD), and should therefore be evident in unaffected relatives.
Neurocognitive and social cognitive ability was examined in 99 young people (age range 16–30 years) with a biological parent or sibling diagnosed with the disorder [thus deemed to be at risk (AR) of developing BD], compared with 78 healthy control (HC) subjects, and 52 people with a confirmed diagnosis of BD.
Only verbal intelligence and affective response inhibition were significantly impaired in AR relative to HC participants; the BD participants showed significant deficits in attention tasks compared with HCs. Neither AR nor BD patients showed impairments in general intellectual ability, working memory, visuospatial or language ability, relative to HC participants. Analysis of BD-I and BD-II cases separately revealed deficits in attention and immediate memory in BD-I patients (only), relative to HCs. Only the BD (but not AR) participants showed impaired emotion recognition, relative to HCs.
Selective cognitive deficits in the capacity to inhibit negative affective information, and general verbal ability may be intermediate markers of risk for BD; however, the extent and severity of impairment in this sample was less pronounced than has been reported in previous studies of older family members and BD cases. These findings highlight distinctions in the cognitive profiles of AR and BD participants, and provide limited support for progressive cognitive decline in association with illness development in BD.
Epidemiological studies have reported inverse associations between various single healthy diet indices and lower levels of systemic inflammation, but rarely are they examined in the same sample. The aim of the present study was to investigate the potential relationships between biomarkers of systemic inflammation (C-reactive protein (CRP) and fibrinogen) and overall foods (dietary patterns), single foods (fruits and vegetables), and specific nutritive (antioxidants) and non-nutritive (flavonoids) food components in the same narrow-age cohort of older adults. The dietary intake of 792 participants aged 70 years from the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 was assessed using a 168-item FFQ. Models were adjusted for age, sex, childhood cognitive ability, lifestyle factors and history of disease. Using logistic regression analyses, CRP (normal v. elevated) was favourably associated (at P< 0·05) with the ‘health-aware’ (low-fat) dietary pattern (unstandardised β = (0·200, OR 0·82, 95 % CI 0·68, 0·99) and fruit intake (unstandardised β = (0·100, OR 0·91, 95 % CI 0·82, 0·99), including flavonoid-rich apples (unstandardised β = (0·456, OR 0·63, 95 % CI 0·439, 0·946). Using linear regression analyses, fibrinogen (continuous) was inversely associated (at P< 0·05) with the Mediterranean dietary pattern (standardised β = (0·100), fruit intake (standardised β = (0·083), and combined fruit and vegetable intake (standardised β = (0·084). We observed no association between food components (antioxidant nutrients or specific flavonoid subclasses) and inflammatory markers. In the present cross-sectional study, nutrient-dense dietary patterns were associated with lower levels of systemic inflammation in older people. The results are consistent with dietary guidelines that promote a balanced diet based on a variety of plant-based foods.
The present study aimed to identify dietary patterns and determine the relationship between dietary patterns and cognitive ability among 12- to 13 year-old Malay adolescents in the urban areas of Gombak district in Selangor, Malaysia.
Data on sociodemographic background were obtained from parents. Height and weight were measured and BMI-for-age was determined. Adolescents were interviewed on their habitual dietary intakes using a semi-quantitative FFQ. Cognitive ability was assessed using the Wechsler Nonverbal Scale of Ability in a one-to-one manner. Dietary patterns were constructed using principal component analysis based on thirty-eight food groups of the semi-quantitative FFQ.
Urban secondary public schools in the district of Gombak in Selangor, Malaysia.
Malay adolescents aged 12 to 13 years (n 416).
The mean general cognitive ability score was 101·8 (sd 12·4). Four major dietary patterns were identified and labelled as ‘refined-grain pattern’, ‘snack-food pattern’, ‘plant-based food pattern’ and ‘high-energy food pattern’. These dietary patterns explained 39·1 % of the variance in the habitual dietary intakes of the adolescents. The refined-grain pattern was negatively associated with processing speed, which is a construct of general cognitive ability. The high-energy food pattern was negatively associated with general cognitive ability, perceptual reasoning and processing speed. Monthly household income and parents’ educational attainment were positively associated with all of the cognitive measures. In multivariate analysis, only the high-energy food pattern was found to contribute significantly towards general cognitive ability after controlling for socio-economic status.
Consumption of foods in the high-energy food pattern contributed towards general cognitive ability after controlling for socio-economic status. However, the contribution was small.
Medial temporal lobe (MTL)/memory and frontal lobe (FL)/executive functions indexes are used to measure changes related to cognitive aging. These indexes are based on composite scores of neuropsychological tests validated in English-speaking populations, and their use in aging research is growing in popularity. This study aimed at validating the MTL/memory and FL/executive functions indexes in French-speaking adults. Ninety-eight healthy participants (32 young and 66 older adults) were tested on eight neuropsychological tests, three associated with MTL/memory functions and five associated with FL/executive functions. Factor analysis indicated that residual scores independent of age and associated with MTL/memory functions grouped under one factor, and residual scores associated with FL/executive functions grouped under another factor. Bootstrapping analysis with 1,000 resamples confirmed stability for seven neuropsychological tests. This study provides the first validation of the MTL/memory and FL/executive functions composite scores in French-speaking adults, which may be used to assess cognitive changes in aging research.
The Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) theory of cognitive abilities has helped advance understanding regarding the relations between specific cognitive abilities and academic achievement in definite domains. However, questions over the generalisability of this research, as well the moderating effect age has on the strength of cognitive-achievement relations, means that further research is needed. This study therefore investigated the capacity for using the Multidimensional Aptitude Battery — II (MAB-II), a group-administered test of cognitive ability, to further CHC-driven research in Australia. After adapting the MAB-II verbal subtests to be suitable for use with an Australian sample, 179 adults completed the measure. Results were analaysed using both classical test and item response theory. Findings indicated that despite the MAB-II not being developed using CHC theory, the structure of the test appeared to conform to this model. Further, while an adequate number of subtests hypothesised to measure the CHC domains of Comprehension-knowledge (Gc) and Visual processing (Gv) were found to perform well psychometrically, the Arithmetic, Picture Arrangement, and Digit Symbol subtests returned questionable results. Given the advantages a group-administered test of CHC cognitive abilities would provide to CHC-driven research in Australia, suggestions for future modifications and adaptations of the test are provided.
This article summarizes the status of three recent German twin studies: CoSMoS, SOEP, and ChronoS. The German twin study on Cognitive Ability, Self-Reported Motivation, and School Achievement (CoSMoS) is a three-wave longitudinal study of monozygotic and dizygotic twins reared together, and aims to investigate predictors of and influences on school performance. In the first wave of the data collection in 2005, 408 pairs of twins aged between 7 and 11 as well as their parents participated in CoSMoS. The SOEP twin study is an extended twin study, which has combined data from monozygotic and dizygotic twins reared together with additional data from full sibling pairs, mother–child, and grandparent–child dyads who participated in the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) study. The SOEP twin project comprises about 350 twin and 950 non-twin pairs aged between 17 and 70. Data were collected between 2009 and 2010, with a focus on personality traits, wellbeing, education, employment, income, living situation, life-satisfaction, and several attitudes. The aim of the Chronotype twin study (ChronoS) was to examine genetic and environmental influences on chronotype (morningness and eveningness), coping strategies, and several aspects of the previous SOEP twin project in a sample of 301 twin pairs aged between 19 and 76 years, recruited in 2010 and 2011. Part of the ChronoS twin sample also participated in the earlier SOEP twin study, representing a second wave of assessments. We briefly describe the design and contents of these three studies as well as selected recent findings.
Background: We examined the utility of cognitive evaluation to predict instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) and decisional ability in Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI).
Methods: Sixty-seven individuals with single-domain amnestic MCI were administered the Dementia Rating Scale-2 (DRS-2) as well as the Everyday Cognition assessment form to assess functional ability.
Results: The DRS-2 Total Scores and Initiation/Perseveration and Memory subscales were found to be predictive of IADLs, with Total Scores accounting for 19% of the variance in IADL performance on average. In addition, the DRS-2 Initiation/Perseveration and Total Scores were predictive of ability to understand information, and the DRS-2 Conceptualization helped predict ability to communicate with others, both key variables in decision-making ability.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that performance on the DRS-2, and specific subscales related to executive function and memory, is significantly related to IADLs in individuals with MCI. These cognitive measures are also associated with decision-making-related abilities in MCI.
The concept of race itself is intensely debated in the social and behavioral sciences, with some subscribing to the notion that it represents a biological fact. As with race, there is no universally accepted definition of intelligence. Admittedly, intelligence testing has come a long way in the past 100 years. Developers of modern tests of cognitive ability have attempted to achieve culture neutrality and tap a broader spectrum of underlying skills, and IQ has become a far more psychometrically sophisticated concept. The relationship between IQ and socioeconomic status (SES) is only one argument challenging hereditarian assumptions about the largely genetic nature of intelligence. Continued research on race and intelligence is important, particularly with regard to the etiology of differences in IQ scores. In conducting studies of this nature, however, investigators must be objective, comprehensive, and cautious, given the potential for divisiveness and far-reaching sociopolitical implications.
In the first of two experiments designed to investigate perceived cognitive abilities of young and old targets, 80 female undergraduates estimated the performance of either a young or an old target on several subtests from the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS; Wechsler, 1955). Experiment 2, with 120 respondents, extended Experiment 1 to include respondent sex and target sex variables, and additional WAIS subtests. The results of the two experiments suggest a highly differentiated view of cognitive abilities. On subtests related primarily to memory and psychomotor speed, the old targets were seen as less cognitively able than the young targets. On a subtest assessing practical judgment and common sense old targets were seen as superior to young targets. On subtests assessing computational abilities and logical abstractive thinking no reliable target age differences were found. Neither target sex nor respondent sex played a substantial role in target age perceptions. Compared to available norms estimates xvere unrealistically generous, particularly in the case of older adults. However the pattern of estimates across cognitive abilities reflected, to a substantial degree, the age-related differences in the norms.
The occurrence of postconcussive symptoms (PCS) following mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) in children may depend on cognitive reserve capacity. This prospective, longitudinal study examined whether the relationship between mild TBI and PCS is moderated by cognitive ability, which served as a proxy for cognitive reserve. Participants included 182 children with mild TBI and 99 children with orthopedic injuries (OI), ranging from 8 to 15 years of age when injured. Mild TBI were classified as complicated (n = 32) or uncomplicated (n = 150) depending on whether they were associated with trauma-related intracranial abnormalities on magnetic resonance imaging. PCS were assessed initially within 3 weeks of injury, and again at 1, 3, and 12 months post injury. The initial assessment also included standardized tests of children’s cognitive skills and retrospective parent ratings of pre-injury symptoms. Hierarchical linear modeling indicated that ratings of PCS were moderated jointly by cognitive ability and injury severity. Children of lower cognitive ability with a complicated mild TBI were especially prone to cognitive symptoms across time according to parents and to high acute levels of PCS according to children’s self-ratings. Cognitive reserve is an important moderator of the outcomes of mild TBI in children and adolescents. (JINS, 2010, 16, 94–105.)
Brief assessments of general cognitive ability are frequently needed by neuropsychologists, and many methods of estimating intelligence quotient (IQ) have been published. While these measures typically present overall correlations with the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) Full Scale IQ, it is tacitly acknowledged that these estimates are most accurate within 1 standard deviation of the mean and that accuracy diminishes moving toward the tails of the IQ distribution. However, little work has been done to systematically characterize proxy measures at the tails of the IQ distribution. Additionally, while these measures are all correlated with the WAIS, multiple proxy measures are rarely presented in one manuscript. The current article has two goals: (1) Examine various IQ proxies against Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (Third Version) scores, showing the overall accuracy of each measure against the gold standard IQ measure. This comparison will assist in selecting the best proxy measure for particular clinical constraints. (2) The sample is then divided into three groups (below, average, and above-average ability), and each group is analyzed separately to characterize proxy performance at the tails of the IQ distribution. Repeated measures multivariate analysis of variance compares the different proxy measures across ability levels. All IQ estimates are represented in tables so that they can be examined side by side. (JINS, 2009, 15, 590–596.)
To test whether scores on depression inventories on entry to a longitudinal study predict mental ability over the next 4–16 years.
Associations between scores on the Beck Depression Inventory and on tests of intelligence, vocabulary and memory were analysed in 5070 volunteers aged 49–93 years after differences in prescribed drug consumption, death and drop-out, sex, socio-economic advantage and recruitment cohort effects had also been considered.
On all cognitive tasks Beck scores on entry, even in the range 0–7 indicating differences in above average contentment, affected overall levels of cognitive performance but not rates of age-related cognitive decline suggesting effects of differences in life satisfaction rather than in depression.
A new finding is that, in old age, increments in life satisfaction are associated with better cognitive performance. Implications for interpreting associations between depression inventory scores and cognitive performance in elderly samples are discussed.
The purpose of the present study was to examine the effects of Toona sinensis Roemor extracts on antioxidative activities, brain morphological changes and cognitive ability. In an in vitro study, the antioxidant capacities of water extracts from Toona sinensis Roemor leaf (TSL), root (TSR) and bark (TSB) were evaluated by an α,α-diphenyl-β-pricryl-hydrazyl radical-scavenging test. The results showed that the scavenging activities of all Toona sinensis Roemor extracts were over 80% at a concentration of 0·625mg/ml. In an in vivo study, 3-month-old male senescence-accelerated-prone 8 mice were used as the tested subjects and fed four different diets: casein diet or casein diet supplemented with 1% TSL, TSR or TSB extract for 12 weeks. The results showed that the mice supplemented with Toona sinensis Roemor extracts demonstrated significantly less amyloid β-protein deposition and lower levels of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances than the control group. All Toona sinensis Roemor diet groups also showed better active shuttle avoidance responses, and higher superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase activities, than the control group. It can thus be concluded that supplementation with either TSL, TSR or TSB extract could not only reduce the incidence of ß-amyloid plaques, but also improve learning and memory ability in senescence-accelerated-prone 8 mice. This might be due to the beneficial effects of Toona sinensis Roemor extracts on promoting the antioxidative defence system.
Twenty participants with self-reported long-term benzodiazepine use
(mean 108 months) who had previously withdrawn from medication (mean 42
months) were administered a battery of neuropsychological tests. Each
long-term user was case matched for age, sex, and education to two control
participants who reported never taking benzodiazepines (those with and
those without anxiety). The results indicated that long-term
benzodiazepine use may lead to impairments in the areas of verbal memory,
motor control/performance, and nonverbal memory but not visuospatial
skills and attention/concentration. The length of abstinence (> 6
months) indicates that these impairments persist well beyond cessation of
benzodiazepine use. However, observed impairments in the area of nonverbal
memory were not solely attributable to benzodiazepine use and may be
influenced by the elevated anxiety levels present in both the case and the
anxious control group. (JINS, 2005, 11,
Deficits observed in children with schizophrenia include problems with illogical thinking and loosening of associations similar in many ways to the difficulties observed in adolescents and adults with the disorder. This chapter reviews the developmental aspects of childhood schizophrenia relative to onset, clinical features, and of the disorder. In childhood schizophrenia auditory hallucinations are most consistently reported, in approximately 80% of cases. Particularly in younger children, hallucinations are more fluid and less complex than those usually observed in adults with the disorder. The frequency of delusions begins to increase markedly in adolescence with the increase in schizophrenia. While schizophrenia can occur at any level of cognitive ability several studies have suggested a relation between schizophrenia and lower levels of intellectual ability. Various disruptive behaviors suggestive of conduct or oppositional disorders may be observed particularly in the prodromal stage of the disorder.