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Low birth weight is associated with adult mental health, cognitive and socioeconomic problems. However, the causal nature of these associations remains difficult to establish owing to confounding.
To estimate the contribution of birth weight to adult mental health, cognitive and socioeconomic outcomes using two-sample Mendelian randomisation, an instrumental variable approach strengthening causal inference.
We used 48 independent single-nucleotide polymorphisms as genetic instruments for birth weight (genome-wide association studies’ total sample: n = 264 498) and considered mental health (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, obsessive–compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, suicide attempt), cognitive (intelligence) and socioeconomic (educational attainment, income, social deprivation) outcomes.
We found evidence for a contribution of birth weight to ADHD (OR for 1 s.d. unit decrease (~464 g) in birth weight, 1.29; 95% CI 1.03–1.62), PTSD (OR = 1.69; 95% CI 1.06–2.71) and suicide attempt (OR = 1.39; 95% CI 1.05–1.84), as well as for intelligence (β = −0.07; 95% CI −0.13 to −0.02) and socioeconomic outcomes, i.e. educational attainment (β = −0.05; 95% CI −0.09 to −0.01), income (β = −0.08; 95% CI −0.15 to −0.02) and social deprivation (β = 0.08; 95% CI 0.03–0.13). However, no evidence was found for a contribution of birth weight to the other examined mental health outcomes. Results were consistent across a wide range of sensitivity analyses.
These findings support the hypothesis that birth weight could be an important element on the causal pathway to mental health, cognitive and socioeconomic outcomes.
Adaptive Intelligence is a dramatic reappraisal and reframing of the concept of human intelligence. In a sweeping analysis, Robert J. Sternberg argues that we are using a fatally-flawed, outdated conception of intelligence; one which may promote technological advancement, but which has also accelerated climate change, pollution, the use of weaponry, and inequality. Instead of focusing on the narrow academic skills measured by standardized tests, societies should teach and assess adaptive intelligence, defined as the use of collective talent in service of the common good. This book describes why the outdated notion of intelligence persists, what adaptive intelligence is, and how it could lead humankind on a more positive path.
On average, men tend to start earlier, perform better, and persist longer than women in the chess domain. Similarly to several other domains, such as those related with STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), women are highly underrepresented in the chess domain. The marked difference in the amount of men and women participating in chess, has led to the assumption that the differences in chess performance between men and women is due to a statistical effect derived from the differences in participation rates. In contrast, other findings suggest that men might have an innate advantage or better predisposition for chess playing, enhanced by certain cultural factors. Some differences in the chess playing of men and women that have been reported in relatively recent studies are also highlighted. The chapter closes by presenting a statistical analysis that compares sex differences in chess performance at different levels of practice, which suggests factors other than practice as the underlying causes of these sex differences.
Practices of denunciation are at once ubiquitous and marginalised in literature on the Guatemalan armed conflict. Meanwhile, ordinary Guatemalans who spontaneously denounced neighbours, former friends and fellow villagers have largely escaped scrutiny in scholarly work on low-level perpetrators. Departing from untapped confidential documents in the Historical Archive of the National Police, this article provides the first archival study of denunciatory behaviour during the Guatemalan Civil War, specifically at the height of the conflict (1970–85). This contribution reveals both the strategic considerations that spurred state intelligence apparatuses to elicit civilian information as well as the broad range of personal, opportunistic and strategic motives that drove civilians to denounce. The case study questions scholarly consensus on the spontaneous and voluntary character of denunciation by arguing that besides providing novel pathways for opportunistic action, denunciations also opened up new strategies for survival in the face of a civil war that structured available choices.
In this Element, I first introduce intelligence in terms of historical definitions. I show that intelligence, as conceived even by the originators of the first intelligence tests, Alfred Binet and David Wechsler, is a much broader construct than just scores on narrow tests of intelligence and their proxies. I then review the major approaches to understanding intelligence and its development: the psychometric (test-based), cognitive and neurocognitive (intelligence as a set of brain-based cognitive representations and processes), systems, cultural, and developmental. These approaches, taken together, present a much more complex portrait of intelligence and its development than the one that would be ascertained just from scores on intelligence tests. Finally, I draw some take-away conclusions.
The chapter draws on The Lion and the Unicorn to argue that Nineteen Eighty-Four, like ‘Such, Such Were the Joys’, represents a shift in Orwell’s thought as he critiques a meritocratic social order in a depiction of a dystopian society ordered around intellectual ability. The chapter examines intellectual control in Oceania through two processes: firstly, ‘doublethink’, a process through which the most intelligent members of society must submit themselves more completely to an act of self-hypnosis and secondly, the chapter contextualizes Ingsoc’s slogans against Animal Farm to argue that Orwell identifies political slogans with mind control. The chapter argues that the novel is Winston Smith’s thwarted bildungsroman, analysing how its form is designed to interrogate Ingsoc’s slogans. It examines the scenes of Winston’s self-education as he reads Goldstein’s Book and the children’s history textbook and suggests how the novel’s torture scene is aligned with the pedagogic, as the pupil/teacher relationship is redefined by Orwell as a relationship based upon intellectual manipulation. The tension between the pedagogic form of the novel, which explores political slogans and creates curiosity in the reader, and its criticism of the catechistic model of teaching, renders the novel paradoxically an anti-pedagogic pedagogic text.
Chapter 3 engages with the republicans’ everyday lives in exile and the practicalities of survival in the face of persecution and multiple assassination attempts against them. The refugees had to manage language barriers and money supplies, while guarding their security and sometimes living under false identities. One of the main activities of the exiles meanwhile was gathering intelligence and information about the political situation in England and in Europe more broadly, which would help their political cause. They were aided by their personal networks and a steady supply of letters from home as well as newsletters, papers and pamphlets from a variety of sources.
Here, I examine the link between intelligence and life. Unlike a skeleton, which is a requisite for any large organism, intelligence is less crucial for survival. It is much more thinly spread in the animal kingdom than are skeletons, and is absent entirely from the plant kingdom. After considering how intelligence might be defined, I consider the question of where it is found in the animal tree of life. I then focus on four examples – tool use by octopuses and crows, mirror self-recognition in certain mammals, and space travel by apes (both humans and chimps). I finish by considering the link between intelligence and Darwinian fitness. Over the course of animal evolution, some groups have prospered without having brains, others have evolved small brains, and others still – notably humans – large ones. Strangest of all, perhaps, is the case of the starfish group (echinoderms), where all current species are brainless, in contrast to their ancestors, which possessed brains, albeit small ones. This combination of evolutionary trajectories in brain size shows that the link between intelligence and fitness is complex.
Here, I start by discussing Stephen Jay Gould’s famous thought-experiment of ‘replaying the tape of life’. If we could wind back to the early days of evolution and reboot, would the tape play out in a similar way? Gould thought not, but his hypothesis was untestable since a real version of his thought-experiment is impossible – at least on Earth. However, other inhabited planets represent independent playings of the tape of evolution, and when we can observe enough of these we will know to what extent evolution is repeatable in a broader context than the one that Gould considered. We can hypothesize in this broader context, confident in the knowledge that our hypotheses will ultimately be testable. Plausible hypotheses are: (1) most life is based on carbon (not carbon chauvinism – the assertion that all life must be based on carbon); (2) most life is based on cells; (3) many features of large life-forms will recur often across different inhabited planets, including skeletons and muscles; (4) intelligence will be absent from some inhabited planets, just as it initially was on Earth – where it occurs, it will be the exception rather than the rule, just as it is here.
There is a common misconception that our genomes - all unique, except for those in identical twins - have the upper hand in controlling our destiny. The latest genetic discoveries, however, do not support that view. Although genetic variation does influence differences in various human behaviours to a greater or lesser degree, most of the time this does not undermine our genuine free will. Genetic determinism comes into play only in various medical conditions, notably some psychiatric syndromes. Denis Alexander here demonstrates that we are not slaves to our genes. He shows how a predisposition to behave in certain ways is influenced at a molecular level by particular genes. Yet a far greater influence on our behaviours is our world-views that lie beyond science - and that have an impact on how we think the latest genetic discoveries should, or should not, be applied. Written in an engaging style, Alexander's book offers tools for understanding and assessing the latest genetic discoveries critically.
This chapter concludes by discussing the scholarly and policy implications of the book’s findings. First, it discusses implications for data on conflict onset, arguing that the book has shown that omissions in existing data prevent current work from learning about the start of conflict, and suggests avenues for generating better data. Then, it argues that these omissions have created major inferential issues in prior work about the role of ethnicity in conflict onset. It uses evidence from Uganda presented in prior chapters to show how this problem plagues data used in prominent study that found a strong relationship between ethnic exclusion and rebellion onset. Third, it argues that this book has shown the importance of civil intelligence institutions to state building and notes the thorny ethical issues associated with this finding. Finally, the chapter considers how the early stages of rebel group formation would differ in stronger state contexts, arguing that in such contexts barriers to new rebel entry are higher and thus we should expect rebellion to be more rare and more explosive.
This chapter examines evidence for the book’s arguments about the state’s behavior related to deterring and defeating new rebel groups. It shows that by developing institutions through which the central government learned fine-grained information about threats emanating from its territory, the post-1986 Ugandan state gradually gained an informational advantage relative to would-be insurgents. These institutions enabled the state to identify incipient insurrections and to “nip them in the bud” before they gained substantial military capacity. Extensive evidence from interviews with former rebel leaders, government intelligence officials, and civilians shows that the state’s ability to collect information about internal threats was an important component of prospective rebels’ calculations of whether or not to organize violence. This chapter’s focus on Uganda presents a rare opportunity to observe a transition from state fragility to relative stability. It also discusses the relevance of these arguments to other African countries.
In the mid-1970s, Congress and the judiciary moved to regulate the National Security Agency (NSA) at a moment when such regulation might have restricted the growth of electronic surveillance. The Ford administration played a crucial role in preventing that from happening. It did so by controlling the flow of intelligence information to Congress and by establishing a flexible new legal framework for intelligence based on broad executive orders, narrow legislation, and legal opinions written by executive branch lawyers. This framework fostered a perception of legality that headed off calls for comprehensive legislation governing intelligence. The Ford administration’s actions protected NSA from meaningful regulation, preserved the growth of electronic surveillance, and sustained executive branch preeminence in national security affairs. The episode proved formative for the Ford administration officials involved—including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Antonin Scalia—and solidified the central role of executive branch lawyers in national security policymaking.
We argue in Chapter 4 that states often seek to reveal intelligence about other states’ violations of international rules and laws but are deterred by concerns about revealing the sources and methods used to collect that intelligence. Properly equipped nuclear international organizations can mitigate these dilemmas, however, by analyzing and acting on sensitive information while protecting it from wide dissemination. Using new data on intelligence disclosures to the International Atomic Energy Agency and analysis of the full universe of nuclear proliferation cases, we demonstrate that strengthening the agency’s intelligence protection capabilities led to greater intelligence sharing and fewer suspected nuclear facilities. However, our theory suggests that this solution gives informed states a subtle form of influence and is in tension with the normative goal of international transparency.
The effectiveness of transitional justice is hotly debated. We highlight a largely overlooked source of such war crimes evidence: intelligence provided by third-party states. We argue that such countries often wish to provide this information but withhold it to avoid revealing intelligence sources and methods. The adoption of confidentiality systems by war crimes tribunals can ease this tension. Courts can integrate national intelligence to gain insights into culpability for atrocities while protecting sensitive details. However, supplying states will constrain their disclosures based on their political interests. We analyze US intelligence disclosures to war crimes tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Drawing on newly reviewed archival materials, elite interviews, and secondary sources, we show that confidentiality protections elicited considerable intelligence disclosures when the United States had a political interest in prosecuting the case, thus increasing arrests and indictments.
Psychiatric disorders provide unique insights into imagination, because they represent extremes of evolved adaptations and trade-offs. I review imagination in the two main sets of disorders of human social and imaginative cognition: the autism spectrum and the psychotic affective spectrum. To do so, I first operationally define imagination in terms of its components, then discuss how seven major aspects of imagination – pretend play, creativity, narrative and the arts, mental time travel, salience, mental imagery and sensory systems, and neural system instantiating it – are altered in autism and psychotic-affective spectrum conditions, mainly with reference to schizophrenia. I then relate fluid intelligence to imagination, and both of them to autism and schizophrenia, genetically and phenotypically. By this narrative review, the autism spectrum involves, overall, lower imagination (and higher aspects of intelligence), while schizophrenia involves higher aspects of imagination (but lower intelligence). Autism and psychotic-affective disorders provide novel opportunities to analyze the causes and consequences of increased, and reduced, imagination, with direct implications for mental-disorder therapies, and enhancements of imagination and creativity among relatively neurotypical individuals.
A few brave researchers ventured into the arena of creative cognition, with three in particular – Kenneth Heilman (2003), Arne Dietrich (2004), and Alice Flaherty (2005) – putting forth specific theoretical constructs amenable to empirical research. These theories emerged at the front end of a large body of neuroimaging research regarding brain correlates of creative cognition emerging in the early part of the twenty-first century. Hundreds of studies followed these pioneers’ thoughtful attempts to isolate creative capacity within brain structure and function. Two major questions are addressed: (1) How did their theories hold up in light of empirical data? (2) Do their theoretical constructs have implications for the nascent hypothesizing around imagination ability?
Cognitive functions are highly heritable and polygenic, determined by many different genes. This chapter summarizes current knowledge regarding the genetic basis of cognitive abilities based on evidence from twin studies and behavioral genetic studies, focusing on single genes or polygenic scores. Given the focus of this book on aging, we also highlight differences of genetic influences on cognition across the adult life span, which contribute to the large interindividual differences in the decline of cognition in old age. In addition, we discuss the complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors in influencing cognition in adulthood and aging. Here, we focus on gene-environment interactions, gene-environment correlations, and epigenetic mechanisms, which likely account for some of the differential patterns in cognitive aging trajectories.
Chapter 10 outlines affective, cognitive, and social dimensions of individual differences in language learning and discusses language teachers’ insufficient expertise to match instruction to these differences. This outline is followed by a report on the findings from a small-scale study that explored teachers’ perceptions and use of individual learner differences in their classes.
Chapter 4 follows the list into the EU courts and explores what happens when the pre-emptive security logics of the list meets the principles of judicial proof and evidence used in judicial review. The chapter empirically focuses on the reform of the procedural rules of the European General Court to allow judges to rely on intelligence material without disclosure for the first time. These reforms are explored as an attempt to resolve the complexities associated with judicially reviewing a list grounded in the use of intelligence-as-evidence and eliminate the kinds of norm conflicts seen in the Kadi case. These problems are analysed by highlighting the spatiotemporal dynamics of the list. It is argued that the listing assemblage is driven by dynamics of ‘non-synchrony’ and ‘dis-location’. Non-synchronous law is legality ‘out of sync’, composed of divergent temporal logics. Intelligence and evidence pull in different temporal directions and generate legal conflict. Judicial review is usually orientated towards a ‘decision’ in the past. But using intelligence-as-evidence defers this space of decision and confounds judicial review because the decision is no longer there. The term ‘dis-located law’ is used in this chapter to capture this dynamic process of fracture and deferral.