More Symmetrical Children Have Faster and More Consistent Choice Reaction Times

David Hope*, Timothy C. Bates, Dominika Dykiert, Geoff Der, Ian J. Deary

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Greater cognitive ability in childhood is associated with increased longevity, and speedier reaction time (RT) might account for much of this linkage. Greater bodily symmetry is linked to both higher cognitive test scores and faster RTs. It is possible, then, that differences in bodily system integrity indexed by symmetry may underlie the associations of RT and intelligence with increased longevity. However, RT and symmetry have seldom been examined in the same study, and never in children. Here, in 2 large samples aged 4 to 15 (combined n = 856), we found that more symmetrical children had significantly faster mean choice RT and less variability in RT. These associations of faster and less variable RT with greater symmetry early in life raise the possibility that the determinants of longevity in part originate in processes influencing bodily system integrity early in the life-course. (PsycINFO Database Record

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)524-532
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Issue number4
Early online date9 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Development
  • Fluctuating asymmetry
  • RT
  • Symmetry
  • System integrity


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