Causes and Consequences of Cognitive Functioning Across the Life Course

Mar. 20, 2010

Source: Educational Researcher, (March 2010), 39: 95-109.
Research on variation in cognitive abilities has focused largely on their genetic or experiential sources and on their economic consequences.

The current article takes a broader look at the consequences of cognitive ability—IQ—across the life course.

Contrary to received wisdom, the effects of IQ on economic success are almost entirely mediated by educational attainment. Among persons with equal levels of schooling, IQ has little influence on job performance, occupational standing, earnings, or wealth.

But there are other, sometimes surprising consequences of IQ throughout adult life.
The long-term correlates of adolescent cognition include drinking behavior, survey participation, Internet use, and the timing of menopause.
These are surveyed primarily using findings from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study.

Updated: Oct. 19, 2010