- Why does intelligence relate to physical health? The textbook authors briefly note that intelligence correlates with mortality in middle and later adulthood. Gottfriedson & Deary (2004) suggest four different potential reasons for this correlation: intelligence scores at age 11 could be (1) indicators of prior negative health incidents that also predict later health, (2) indicators of general health of the individual, (3) a predictor of healthy behaviors, or (4) a predictor of an individual’s entry into healthy environments. Intelligence may also impact an individual’s ability to understand how to prevent health problems, recognize symptoms, and follow a doctor’s instructions. What health outcomes do you think would be most related to intelligence? Why? What social or economic reforms might be made to even the playing field and give everyone the best shot at physical health and a long life? How does type of intelligence (crystallized or fluid) factor into these results? Would we expect different types of intelligence to correlate differently with physical health? How so?
- Gottfredson, L. S. & Deary, I. J. (2004). Intelligence predicts health and longevity, but why?” Current Directions in Psychological Science, 13, 1-4.
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