Two cheers for the cognitive irregulars: Intelligence’s contributions to ageing well and staying alive

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Here, intelligence is taken to mean scores from psychometric tests of cognitive functions. This essay describes how cognitive tests offer assessments of brain functioning—an otherwise difficult-to-assess organ—that have proved enduringly useful in the field of health and medicine. The two “consequential world problems” (the phrase used by the inviters of this essay) addressed in this article are (i) the ageing of modern societies (and the resulting increase in the numbers of people with ageing-related cognitive decrements and dementias) and (ii) health inequalities, including mortality. Cognitive tests have an ubiquitous place in both of these topics, i.e., the important fields of cognitive ageing and cognitive epidemiology, respectively. The cognitive tests that have sprouted in these fields are often brief and not mainstream, large psychometric test batteries; I refer to them as ‘irregulars’. These two problems are not separate, because results found with mental/cognitive/intelligence tests have produced a growing understanding that intelligence and health have a reciprocal, life-long relationship. Intelligence tests contribute to the applied research that is trying to help people to stay sharp, stay healthy, and stay alive.
Original languageEnglish
Article number41
JournalJournal of Intelligence
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • intelligence
  • mental tests
  • cognitive ageing
  • cognitive epidemiology
  • mortality

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