Reaction time explains IQ's association with death

Deary, I. and Der, G. (2005) Reaction time explains IQ's association with death. Psychological Science, 16(1), pp. 64-69. (doi: 10.1111/j.0956-7976.2005.00781.x)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.

Publisher's URL:


Lower IQ is associated with earlier death, but the cause of the relationship is unknown. In the present study, psychometric intelligence and reaction times were both significantly related to all-cause mortality in a representative sample of 898 people aged 56 years who were followed up with respect to survival until age 70. The association between IQ and mortality remained significant after adjusting for education, occupational social class, and smoking, all of which have been hypothesized as confounding variables. The effect of IQ on mortality was not significant after adjusting for reaction time, suggesting that reduced efficiency of information processing might link lower mental ability and earlier death. This new field of cognitive epidemiology provides arguably the strongest evidence for the importance of psychological factors in physical health and human survival. Finding the mechanisms that relate psychometric intelligence to mortality might help in formulating effective interventions to reduce inequalities in health.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Der, Mr Geoffrey
Authors: Deary, I., and Der, G.
Subjects:R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing > Centre for Population and Health Sciences
Journal Name:Psychological Science
ISSN (Online):1467-9280
Published Online:07 January 2005

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record