Dr. Ken Manges, Ph.D., Forensic Psychologist 

Although we may think our child is the brightest (I thought so when my two children were born, didn’t you?), there is now scientific proof that bright 7-year-olds grow up to be bright 70 year olds too, as a Jewish proverb says… “as at age 7, so at 70.”

A uniquely opportune discovery has buttressed this old proverb. The discovery was a treasure trove of data (think mining data as Facebook and Google are now discovering), happened when Ian J. Deary and Lawrence Whalley found the long overlooked results of intelligence tests administered to the entire population of 11-year-old (87,498) Scottish child born in 1921.

The authors (Deary, Whalley & Strarr, 2009), combined the 1921 data with also newly re-discovered 1947 data of all Scottish 11 year olds. They sought out the survivors and retested the kiddies, now 70 to 90 years of age, and found: the I.Q.s remained fairly constant and; the higher the I.Q. at 11, the longer they lived compared to lesser endowed children and the healthier their lives with less risk of dementia. Among the girls, of the upper 25%, seventy percent were alive at age 76, versus only 45% of those scoring in the lowest 25%.

Deary, I.J., Whalley, L.J. & Starr, J.M. (2013) A Lifetime of intelligence: Follow up studies of the Scottish Mental Surveys of 1932 and 1947. Washington, DD: American Psychological Association.

Observer, Vol. 27, No. 8 October 2014.

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