higher IQ = longer life span
July 27, 2001 12:18 PM   Subscribe

higher IQ = longer life span
A study in the British Medical Journal shows a link between IQ and longevity. 2200 children were tracked from childhood to the age of 76. A 15-point disadvantage in IQ meant the child was only 79% as likely to be alive at 76. A 30-point disadvantage reduced the odds to 63%. *link found at darwin awards
posted by bwg (12 comments total)
The headline really should be "higher IQ = better jobs."

Better jobs are less physical taxing and pay more (enabling better nutrition and health care). High IQ women tend to marry high IQ men, and so have the benefit of their jobs and money.

Interesting note in the article: those who were killed in WW2 tended to have the higher IQs, so the figures are actually even worse for the low IQ contingent.

(One can suppose that high IQ men were more likely to be made pilots, airmen, and submariners, who had a ruinously high death rate, and when in the ground forces put into the special units and front line infantry lieutenant jobs that had much higher death rates than the ordinary foot soldiers' death rates).
posted by MattD at 12:40 PM on July 27, 2001

Can someone confirm my suspicion that IQ testing was used as an entry into high-status military (and possibly other) positions for people of this generation (born in 1920s)? I have a feeling it was.

I wonder why they just didn't do a plain old linear regression of IQ->Age. What's a Cox regression anyways?
posted by rschram at 1:09 PM on July 27, 2001

higher I.Q.ed people live longer 'cause they don't tip Coke machines onto themselves.
posted by tolkhan at 2:46 PM on July 27, 2001

Funny, I was just about to link to the Darwin Awards... You beat me to the point....
posted by fooljay at 5:30 PM on July 27, 2001

IQ tests are generally structured and biased to favor the middle/upper classes -- who generally have longer lifespans anyway, since they have better access to medical care, etc. And as MattD pointed out, have access to safer and higher-paying jobs.
posted by Alixana at 7:18 PM on July 27, 2001

IQ tests are generally structured and biased to favor the middle/upper classes

Can you provide a link for that? I'm interested to find out how "The Man" has an easier time with problems involving moving 5 gallons of water from one container to another in two moves using one two gallon container and one one gallon container...
posted by fooljay at 8:27 PM on July 27, 2001

<musical thread hijack moment> Brains! I'm gonna live forever. . . </musical thread hijack moment>
posted by Dreama at 8:31 PM on July 27, 2001

Well, I was specifically thinking of the Binet test, widely used by American school counselors. So it may not be all that relevant for a discussion of a survey done 76 years ago in Britain... But for some general information about the Binet test, and a brief discussion of some of its problems, this is a good article. The argument says that the IQ tests given to children don't measure (learned) reasoning skills, but measure (cultural) knowledge -- one example that I remember seeing on an older binet was an analogy involving knowledge of golf and raquet equipment. This article specifically deals with the SAT, but also addresses general bias issues in standardized tests.
posted by Alixana at 9:10 PM on July 27, 2001

The only flaw with that argument is that IQ tests do, in fact, report roughly the same score over an individual's entire life.
posted by Ptrin at 9:14 PM on July 27, 2001

Sorry, make that don't measure reasoning skills, but measure learned cultural knowledge. It's past my brainwashed-education-grad-student's bedtime.
posted by Alixana at 9:17 PM on July 27, 2001

I've heard that argument made about IQ tests enough that I don't think it's true. I mean, if there ever were this infamous test of knowledge of golf trivia purported to decide the fates of millions, it would have been edited a bit by now.
posted by dagnyscott at 11:01 AM on July 30, 2001

Modern IQ tests are all about completing patterns and so forth. They often use diagrams that don't require any knowledge beyond what's in the diagram.
posted by kindall at 11:18 AM on July 30, 2001

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