IQ, reaction time and the differentiation hypothesis

G Der, I J Deary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Associations between reaction times and mental ability test scores have been widely reported in the literature on the information processing theories of psychometric intelligence. There have been varying estimates of the strength of these associations, which are typically reported in terms of correlation coefficients. In a previous article, we reported correlations between scores on Part I of the Alice Heim 4 and simple and four-choice reaction time of -.31 and -.49, respectively, derived from a population based sample of 900 residents of the West of Scotland aged 56. The use of the Pearson, or product moment, correlation coefficient to summarise the association between reaction time and mental testability assumes that they jointly have a bivariate normal distribution and that the relationship between them is linear. The differentiation hypothesis can be construed as implying that the relationship should be nonlinear with a stronger relationship at lower levels of mental ability. We examined in detail the relationships underlying these correlations to assess whether they adequately represented the strength of the association and to test for any departure from linearity. For four-choice reaction time, the correlation is a good summary of the relation to AH4 score. However, the relation of AH4 and simple reaction time is more complex and nonlinear. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-503
Number of pages13
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • IQ
  • reaction time
  • Alice Heim 4


Dive into the research topics of 'IQ, reaction time and the differentiation hypothesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this