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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 In a sweeping analysis, Robert J. Sternberg argues that we are using a fatally-flawed, outdated conception of intelligence; one which may promote technological advancement, but which has also accelerated climate change, pollution, the use of weaponry, and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 This book describes why the outdated notion of intelligence persists, what adaptive intelligence is, and how it could lead humankind on a more positive path.
Chapter 5 argues that the information economy framework can be wedded to a virtue-theoretic epistemology so as to yield a unified account of knowledge generation and knowledge transmission. The argument begins with the familiar virtue-theoretic idea that knowledge is a kind of success from virtuous or competent agency, as opposed to a mere lucky success. Knowledge is an achievement in that sense. But now we draw a distinction between the competent agency of an individual and the competent joint agency of two individuals acting together. The argument, then, is that knowledge generation is to be understood in terms of success due to the competent agency of the knower. Knowledge transmission is to be understood in terms of success due to the competent joint agency of speaker and hearer acting together. The same argument is used to address the most persistent and pressing objection to virtue epistemology – that it cannot give an adequate account of testimonial knowledge, and that, more generally, virtue epistemology is overly individualistic.
What kind of abilities are apt for producing knowledge? Alternatively: How should we understand the notion of 'cognitive ability', in the virtue-theoretic idea that knowledge is true belief attributable to cognitive ability? Robust virtue epistemology understands the notion in such a way that the ability condition on knowledge entails a safety condition as well. Greco relativizes abilities to environments, Sosa does not. Pritchard's modest virtue epistemology denies that ability grounds safety, but adds an additional safety condition on knowledge. Turri (2011) requires that knowledge-producing abilities manifest safety as well as truth, while Turri (2015 and 2016) denies that knowledge requires safety. This chapter considers the dispute among these alternatives in light of questions regarding the value of knowledge: In what sense is knowledge valuable, and in what sense of 'ability' does success-from-ability give knowledge its value? The chapter defends a version of robust virtue epistemology in light of these questions.
Depression and chronic inflammatory medical conditions have been linked to impaired cognitive ability. However despite frequent comorbidity, their combined association with cognitive ability has rarely been examined.
This study examined associations between self-reported depression and chronic inflammatory diseases and their interaction with cognitive performance in 456,748 participants of the UK Biobank, adjusting for sociodemographic and lifestyle factors. Numbers with available data ranged from 94,899 to 453,208 depending on the cognitive test.
Self-reported depression was associated with poorer performance compared to controls in several cognitive tests (fully adjusted models, reaction time: B = 6.08, 95% CI = 5.09, 7.07; pairs matching: incidence rate ratio = 1.02, 95% CI = 1.02, 1.03; Trail Making Test B: B = 1.37, 95% CI = 0.88, 1.87; Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST): B = −0.35, 95% CI = −0.44, −0.27). Self-reported chronic inflammatory conditions were associated with slower reaction time (B = 3.79, 95% CI = 2.81, 4.78) and lower DSST scores (B = −0.21, 95% CI = −0.30, −0.13). No interaction effects were observed.
In this large, population-based study we provide evidence of lower cognitive performance in both depression and a comprehensive category of chronic inflammatory conditions. Results are consistent with additive effects of both types of disorder on cognitive ability. Clinicians should be aware of such effects, particularly as cognitive impairment is linked to poorer disease outcomes and quality of life.
Cognitive ability, externalizing symptoms, and internalizing symptoms are correlated in children. However, it is not known why they combine in the general child population over time. To address this, we used data on 17,318 children participating in the UK Millennium Cohort Study and followed-up five times between ages 3 and 14 years. We fitted three parallel-process latent growth curve models to identify the parallel unfolding of children's trajectories of internalizing symptoms, externalizing symptoms, and cognitive ability across this period. We also examined the effects of time-invariant (ethnicity, birth weight, maternal education and age at birth, and breastfeeding status) and time-varying covariates (maternal psychological distress and socioeconomic disadvantage) on the growth parameters of the trajectories. The results showed that the intercepts of the trajectories of cognitive ability and, particularly, externalizing symptoms were inversely correlated. Their linear slopes were also inversely correlated, suggesting parallel development. Internalizing symptoms were correlated positively with externalizing symptoms and inversely (and more modestly) with cognitive ability at baseline, but the slope of internalizing symptoms correlated (positively) only with the slope of externalizing symptoms. The covariates predicted 9% to 41% of the variance in the intercepts and slopes of all domains, suggesting they are important common risk factors. Overall, it appears that externalizing symptoms develop in parallel with both cognitive ability and internalizing symptoms from early childhood through to middle adolescence. Children on an increasing trajectory of externalizing symptoms are likely both increasing in internalizing symptoms and decreasing in cognitive skills as well, and are thus an important group to target for intervention.
We investigate the link between genes, psychological traits, and political engagement using a new data set containing information on a large sample of young German twins. The TwinLife Study enables us to examine the predominant model of personality, the Big Five framework, as well as traits that fall outside the Big Five, such as cognitive ability, providing a more comprehensive understanding of the underpinnings of political engagement. Our results support previous work showing genetic overlap between some psychological traits and political engagement. More specifically, we find that cognitive ability and openness to experience are correlated with political engagement and that common genes can explain most of the relationship between these psychological traits and political engagement. Relationships between genes, psychological traits, and political engagement exist even at a fairly young age, which is an important finding given that previous work has relied heavily on older samples to study the link between genes, psychological traits, and political engagement.
Cognitive ability and problem behaviour (externalising and internalising problems) are variable and inter-related in children. However, it is not known if they mutually influence one another, if difficulties in one cause difficulties in the other, or if they are related only because they share causes.
Random-intercept cross-lagged models adjusted for confounding were fitted to explore this in 17,318 (51% male) children of the UK’s Millennium Cohort Study at ages 3, 5, 7, 11 and 14 years. Externalising and internalising problems were assessed using the parent-reported Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Cognitive ability was measured using standardised scores of age-appropriate validated cognitive ability assessments. Where multiple cognitive assessments were available a single score was derived using principal components analysis.
There was much evidence for cross-domain longitudinal effects in childhood, especially for cognitive ability (on both internalising and externalising problems and in both males and females) and externalising problems (on internalising problems in both genders and cognitive ability in males). Bidirectional effects were childhood-limited, gender-specific and less consistent. The consistent bidirectional associations were, in males, between externalising problems and cognitive ability, and, in females, between externalising and internalising problems (although the effects of internalising problems were weak). In adolescence, only externalising problems had cross-domain effects such that, in both genders, they were associated with lower cognitive ability in subsequent measurements and increased levels of internalising problems.
In either childhood or adolescence, reducing behavioural problems could have both emotional and cognitive benefits. In childhood, improving cognitive skills could reduce both emotional and behavioural problems.
Social disadvantage consistently predicts both self-reported distress and clinically diagnosed disorders such as depression. Yet, many individuals who are exposed to disadvantage do not report high levels of distress. This study extends our recent work showing that high cognitive ability may protect against the negative health consequences of exposure to disadvantaged backgrounds. We test whether this ‘buffer effect’ exists across clinically relevant indices of mental health in a population-representative sample.
In total, 27 985 participants were drawn from the UK Household Longitudinal Study (Understanding Society). Clinical diagnoses of depression and clinically relevant measures of psychological distress [i.e. Short Form-12 (SF-12) Mental Component, General Health Questionnaire (GHQ)] and trait neuroticism were assessed. Cognitive ability was derived from performance on word recall, verbal fluency and numerical ability tasks. Early-life disadvantage was gauged using family background measures assessing parental education and occupation at age 14.
Background disadvantage predicted increased levels of reported psychological distress and neuroticism. These associations were moderated by cognitive ability. Across all available mental health measures, the negative association between early-life disadvantage and poor adult mental health was strongest at low (−1 s.d.) cognitive ability and was no longer evident at high (+1 s.d.) levels of cognitive ability.
The results provide support for a cognitive buffering hypothesis linking high cognitive ability to a decrease in the magnitude of the social gradient in mental health. Those disadvantaged by both low socioeconomic status and low cognitive ability may benefit from targeted prevention and treatment programmes aiming to reduce socioeconomic disparities in mental health.
As a response to the ageing population, the United Kingdom (UK) government, like many others, has increased the State Pension Age. This has involved equalising women's State Pension Age with men's, raising it from 60 to 65, with further increases already underway. It has been argued that a key issue with how this change has been implemented is the lack of notice the government gave to the women affected, impacting on their ability to plan for retirement. So far, there has been very little research exploring inequalities in awareness of these developments and, in particular, considering whether women of particular socio-economic backgrounds are less likely to know about the changes. This has implications for potentially further widening inequalities in old age. In this paper we analyse data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. We consider the role of cognitive ability in mediating the relationship between socio-economic background and awareness, given recent debates on deficiencies in financial literacy. We find that socio-economic inequalities exist, especially with respect to labour force status, occupation and education. We also find that cognitive ability, especially numeracy, mediates a sizeable proportion of the relationship. These findings have important implications in terms of implementing future policy changes and awareness campaigns to help mitigate the possibility that they will further entrench inequalities in older age.
Being breastfed in infancy has been shown to benefit neurodevelopment. However, whether the benefits persist to old age remains unclear.
We examined the associations between breastfeeding and its duration on cognitive ability in young adulthood and old age, and on aging-related cognitive change over five decades. In total, 931 men from the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study born in 1934–1944 in Finland took the Finnish Defence Forces Basic Intellectual Ability Test (total and verbal, arithmetic and visuospatial subtest scores) twice, at ages 20.2 and 67.9 years, and had data on breastfeeding (yes v. no) and its duration (‘never breastfed’, ‘up to 3’, ‘3 to 6’ and ‘6 or more months’). Linear and mixed model regressions tested the associations.
At 20.2 years, breastfed men had higher cognitive ability total and visuospatial subtest scores [mean differences (MDs) ranged between 3.0–3.9, p values < 0.013], and its longer duration predicted higher cognitive ability total and arithmetic and visuospatial subtest scores (MDs ranged between 3.0 and 4.8, p values < 0.039). At 67.9 years, breastfed men had higher total cognitive ability and all subtest scores (MDs ranged between 2.6 and 3.4, p values < 0.044) and its longer duration predicted all cognitive ability scores (MDs ranged between 3.1 and 4.7, p values < 0.050). Verbal subtest scores decreased over five decades in men who were never breastfed or were breastfed for 3 months or less, and increased in those breastfed for longer than 3 months.
Neurodevelopmental advantages of breastfeeding and its longer duration persist into old age, and longer duration of breastfeeding may benefit aging-related change, particularly in verbal reasoning ability.
Here I briefly delineate my view about the main question of this International Seminar, namely, what should we expecting from the XXI Century regarding the advancements in intelligence research. This view can be summarized as ‘The Brain Connection’ (TBC), meaning that neuroscience will be of paramount relevance for increasing our current knowledge related to the key question: why are some people smarter than others? We need answers to the issue of what happens in our brains when the genotype and the environment are integrated. The scientific community has devoted great research efforts, ranging from observable behavior to hidden genetics, but we are still far from having a clear general picture of what it means to be more or less intelligent. After the discussion held with the panel of experts participating in the seminar, it is concluded that advancements will be more solid and safe increasing the collaboration of scientists with shared research interests worldwide. Paralleling current sophisticated analyses of how the brain computes, nowadays science may embrace a network approach.
Impairments in key neuropsychological domains (e.g. working memory, attention) and social cognitive deficits have been implicated as intermediate (endo) phenotypes for bipolar disorder (BD), and should therefore be evident in unaffected relatives.
Neurocognitive and social cognitive ability was examined in 99 young people (age range 16–30 years) with a biological parent or sibling diagnosed with the disorder [thus deemed to be at risk (AR) of developing BD], compared with 78 healthy control (HC) subjects, and 52 people with a confirmed diagnosis of BD.
Only verbal intelligence and affective response inhibition were significantly impaired in AR relative to HC participants; the BD participants showed significant deficits in attention tasks compared with HCs. Neither AR nor BD patients showed impairments in general intellectual ability, working memory, visuospatial or language ability, relative to HC participants. Analysis of BD-I and BD-II cases separately revealed deficits in attention and immediate memory in BD-I patients (only), relative to HCs. Only the BD (but not AR) participants showed impaired emotion recognition, relative to HCs.
Selective cognitive deficits in the capacity to inhibit negative affective information, and general verbal ability may be intermediate markers of risk for BD; however, the extent and severity of impairment in this sample was less pronounced than has been reported in previous studies of older family members and BD cases. These findings highlight distinctions in the cognitive profiles of AR and BD participants, and provide limited support for progressive cognitive decline in association with illness development in BD.
Epidemiological studies have reported inverse associations between various single healthy diet indices and lower levels of systemic inflammation, but rarely are they examined in the same sample. The aim of the present study was to investigate the potential relationships between biomarkers of systemic inflammation (C-reactive protein (CRP) and fibrinogen) and overall foods (dietary patterns), single foods (fruits and vegetables), and specific nutritive (antioxidants) and non-nutritive (flavonoids) food components in the same narrow-age cohort of older adults. The dietary intake of 792 participants aged 70 years from the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 was assessed using a 168-item FFQ. Models were adjusted for age, sex, childhood cognitive ability, lifestyle factors and history of disease. Using logistic regression analyses, CRP (normal v. elevated) was favourably associated (at P< 0·05) with the ‘health-aware’ (low-fat) dietary pattern (unstandardised β = (0·200, OR 0·82, 95 % CI 0·68, 0·99) and fruit intake (unstandardised β = (0·100, OR 0·91, 95 % CI 0·82, 0·99), including flavonoid-rich apples (unstandardised β = (0·456, OR 0·63, 95 % CI 0·439, 0·946). Using linear regression analyses, fibrinogen (continuous) was inversely associated (at P< 0·05) with the Mediterranean dietary pattern (standardised β = (0·100), fruit intake (standardised β = (0·083), and combined fruit and vegetable intake (standardised β = (0·084). We observed no association between food components (antioxidant nutrients or specific flavonoid subclasses) and inflammatory markers. In the present cross-sectional study, nutrient-dense dietary patterns were associated with lower levels of systemic inflammation in older people. The results are consistent with dietary guidelines that promote a balanced diet based on a variety of plant-based foods.
The present study aimed to identify dietary patterns and determine the relationship between dietary patterns and cognitive ability among 12- to 13 year-old Malay adolescents in the urban areas of Gombak district in Selangor, Malaysia.
Data on sociodemographic background were obtained from parents. Height and weight were measured and BMI-for-age was determined. Adolescents were interviewed on their habitual dietary intakes using a semi-quantitative FFQ. Cognitive ability was assessed using the Wechsler Nonverbal Scale of Ability in a one-to-one manner. Dietary patterns were constructed using principal component analysis based on thirty-eight food groups of the semi-quantitative FFQ.
Urban secondary public schools in the district of Gombak in Selangor, Malaysia.
Malay adolescents aged 12 to 13 years (n 416).
The mean general cognitive ability score was 101·8 (sd 12·4). Four major dietary patterns were identified and labelled as ‘refined-grain pattern’, ‘snack-food pattern’, ‘plant-based food pattern’ and ‘high-energy food pattern’. These dietary patterns explained 39·1 % of the variance in the habitual dietary intakes of the adolescents. The refined-grain pattern was negatively associated with processing speed, which is a construct of general cognitive ability. The high-energy food pattern was negatively associated with general cognitive ability, perceptual reasoning and processing speed. Monthly household income and parents’ educational attainment were positively associated with all of the cognitive measures. In multivariate analysis, only the high-energy food pattern was found to contribute significantly towards general cognitive ability after controlling for socio-economic status.
Consumption of foods in the high-energy food pattern contributed towards general cognitive ability after controlling for socio-economic status. However, the contribution was small.
Medial temporal lobe (MTL)/memory and frontal lobe (FL)/executive functions indexes are used to measure changes related to cognitive aging. These indexes are based on composite scores of neuropsychological tests validated in English-speaking populations, and their use in aging research is growing in popularity. This study aimed at validating the MTL/memory and FL/executive functions indexes in French-speaking adults. Ninety-eight healthy participants (32 young and 66 older adults) were tested on eight neuropsychological tests, three associated with MTL/memory functions and five associated with FL/executive functions. Factor analysis indicated that residual scores independent of age and associated with MTL/memory functions grouped under one factor, and residual scores associated with FL/executive functions grouped under another factor. Bootstrapping analysis with 1,000 resamples confirmed stability for seven neuropsychological tests. This study provides the first validation of the MTL/memory and FL/executive functions composite scores in French-speaking adults, which may be used to assess cognitive changes in aging research.
The Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) theory of cognitive abilities has helped advance understanding regarding the relations between specific cognitive abilities and academic achievement in definite domains. However, questions over the generalisability of this research, as well the moderating effect age has on the strength of cognitive-achievement relations, means that further research is needed. This study therefore investigated the capacity for using the Multidimensional Aptitude Battery — II (MAB-II), a group-administered test of cognitive ability, to further CHC-driven research in Australia. After adapting the MAB-II verbal subtests to be suitable for use with an Australian sample, 179 adults completed the measure. Results were analaysed using both classical test and item response theory. Findings indicated that despite the MAB-II not being developed using CHC theory, the structure of the test appeared to conform to this model. Further, while an adequate number of subtests hypothesised to measure the CHC domains of Comprehension-knowledge (Gc) and Visual processing (Gv) were found to perform well psychometrically, the Arithmetic, Picture Arrangement, and Digit Symbol subtests returned questionable results. Given the advantages a group-administered test of CHC cognitive abilities would provide to CHC-driven research in Australia, suggestions for future modifications and adaptations of the test are provided.
This article summarizes the status of three recent German twin studies: CoSMoS, SOEP, and ChronoS. The German twin study on Cognitive Ability, Self-Reported Motivation, and School Achievement (CoSMoS) is a three-wave longitudinal study of monozygotic and dizygotic twins reared together, and aims to investigate predictors of and influences on school performance. In the first wave of the data collection in 2005, 408 pairs of twins aged between 7 and 11 as well as their parents participated in CoSMoS. The SOEP twin study is an extended twin study, which has combined data from monozygotic and dizygotic twins reared together with additional data from full sibling pairs, mother–child, and grandparent–child dyads who participated in the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) study. The SOEP twin project comprises about 350 twin and 950 non-twin pairs aged between 17 and 70. Data were collected between 2009 and 2010, with a focus on personality traits, wellbeing, education, employment, income, living situation, life-satisfaction, and several attitudes. The aim of the Chronotype twin study (ChronoS) was to examine genetic and environmental influences on chronotype (morningness and eveningness), coping strategies, and several aspects of the previous SOEP twin project in a sample of 301 twin pairs aged between 19 and 76 years, recruited in 2010 and 2011. Part of the ChronoS twin sample also participated in the earlier SOEP twin study, representing a second wave of assessments. We briefly describe the design and contents of these three studies as well as selected recent findings.
Background: We examined the utility of cognitive evaluation to predict instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) and decisional ability in Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI).
Methods: Sixty-seven individuals with single-domain amnestic MCI were administered the Dementia Rating Scale-2 (DRS-2) as well as the Everyday Cognition assessment form to assess functional ability.
Results: The DRS-2 Total Scores and Initiation/Perseveration and Memory subscales were found to be predictive of IADLs, with Total Scores accounting for 19% of the variance in IADL performance on average. In addition, the DRS-2 Initiation/Perseveration and Total Scores were predictive of ability to understand information, and the DRS-2 Conceptualization helped predict ability to communicate with others, both key variables in decision-making ability.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that performance on the DRS-2, and specific subscales related to executive function and memory, is significantly related to IADLs in individuals with MCI. These cognitive measures are also associated with decision-making-related abilities in MCI.
The concept of race itself is intensely debated in the social and behavioral sciences, with some subscribing to the notion that it represents a biological fact. As with race, there is no universally accepted definition of intelligence. Admittedly, intelligence testing has come a long way in the past 100 years. Developers of modern tests of cognitive ability have attempted to achieve culture neutrality and tap a broader spectrum of underlying skills, and IQ has become a far more psychometrically sophisticated concept. The relationship between IQ and socioeconomic status (SES) is only one argument challenging hereditarian assumptions about the largely genetic nature of intelligence. Continued research on race and intelligence is important, particularly with regard to the etiology of differences in IQ scores. In conducting studies of this nature, however, investigators must be objective, comprehensive, and cautious, given the potential for divisiveness and far-reaching sociopolitical implications.
The occurrence of postconcussive symptoms (PCS) following mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) in children may depend on cognitive reserve capacity. This prospective, longitudinal study examined whether the relationship between mild TBI and PCS is moderated by cognitive ability, which served as a proxy for cognitive reserve. Participants included 182 children with mild TBI and 99 children with orthopedic injuries (OI), ranging from 8 to 15 years of age when injured. Mild TBI were classified as complicated (n = 32) or uncomplicated (n = 150) depending on whether they were associated with trauma-related intracranial abnormalities on magnetic resonance imaging. PCS were assessed initially within 3 weeks of injury, and again at 1, 3, and 12 months post injury. The initial assessment also included standardized tests of children’s cognitive skills and retrospective parent ratings of pre-injury symptoms. Hierarchical linear modeling indicated that ratings of PCS were moderated jointly by cognitive ability and injury severity. Children of lower cognitive ability with a complicated mild TBI were especially prone to cognitive symptoms across time according to parents and to high acute levels of PCS according to children’s self-ratings. Cognitive reserve is an important moderator of the outcomes of mild TBI in children and adolescents. (JINS, 2010, 16, 94–105.)