Placing inspection time, reaction time, and perceptual speed in the broader context of cognitive ability: The VPR model in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936

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Abstract

The idea that information processing speed is related to cognitive ability has a long history. Much evidence has been amassed in its support, with respect to both individual differences in general intelligence and developmental trajectories. Two so-called elementary cognitive tasks, reaction time and inspection time, have been used to compile this evidence, but most studies have used either one or the other. Relations between speed and fluid intelligence have tended to be stronger than those between speed and crystallized intelligence, but studies testing this have confounded verbal abilities with crystallized intelligence and spatial/perceptual abilities with fluid intelligence. Questions have also been raised regarding whether speed contributes directly to general intelligence or to more specific cognitive abilities to which general intelligence also contributes. We used 18 ability and speed measures in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936, assessed at approximately age 70, to construct alternative versions of the Verbal-Perceptual-Image Rotation (Johnson & Bouchard, 2005a) model of cognitive ability to test different hypotheses regarding these issues. Though differences in the extents to which our models fit the data were relatively small, they suggested that reaction and inspection time tasks were comparable indicators of information processing speed with respect to general intelligence, that verbal and spatial abilities were similarly related to information processing speed, and that spatial, verbal, and perceptual speed abilities were more directly related to information processing speed than was general intelligence. We discuss the theoretical implications of these results. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-417
Number of pages13
JournalIntelligence
Volume39
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords

  • Inspection time
  • Reaction time
  • Information processing speed
  • Cognitive ability
  • VPR model
  • IMAGE ROTATION MODEL
  • MENTAL-ABILITY
  • INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES
  • GENERAL INTELLIGENCE
  • REPLICATION
  • BATTERY
  • FLUID
  • TESTS
  • FIT

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