IQ, reaction time, and the differentiation hypothesis

Der, G. and Deary, I. (2003) IQ, reaction time, and the differentiation hypothesis. Intelligence, 31(5), pp. 491-503. (doi: 10.1016/S0160-2896(02)00189-7)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.

Publisher's URL:


Associations between reaction times and mental ability test scores have been widely reported in the literature on the information processing theories of psychometric intelligence. There have been varying estimates of the strength of these associations, which are typically reported in terms of correlation coefficients. In a previous article, we reported correlations between scores on Part 1 of the Alice Heim 4 and simple and four-choice reaction time of −.31 and −.49, respectively, derived from a population based sample of 900 residents of the West of Scotland aged 56. The use of the Pearson, or product moment, correlation coefficient to summarise the association between reaction time and mental test ability assumes that they jointly have a bivariate normal distribution and that the relationship between them is linear. The differentiation hypothesis can be construed as implying that the relationship should be nonlinear with a stronger relationship at lower levels of mental ability. We examined in detail the relationships underlying these correlations to assess whether they adequately represented the strength of the association and to test for any departure from linearity. For four-choice reaction time, the correlation is a good summary of the relation to AH4 score. However, the relation of AH4 and simple reaction time is more complex and nonlinear.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Der, Mr Geoffrey
Authors: Der, G., and Deary, I.
Subjects: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:Intelligence

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