Smarter every day: the deceleration of population ageing in terms of cognition

Bordone V, Scherbov S, & Steiber N (2015). Smarter every day: the deceleration of population ageing in terms of cognition. Intelligence 50: 90-96. DOI:10.1016/j.intell.2015.07.005.

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Abstract

Cognitive decline correlates with age-associated health risks and has been shown to be a good predictor of future morbidity and mortality. Cognitive functioning can therefore be considered an important measure of differential ageing across cohorts and population groups. Here, we investigate if and why individuals aged 50+ born into more recent cohorts perform better in terms of cognition than their counterparts of 'the same age' born into earlier cohorts (Flynn effect). Based on two waves of English and German survey data, we show that cognitive test scores of participants aged 50+ in the later wave are higher compared with those of participants aged 50+ in the earlier wave. The mean scores in the later wave correspond to the mean scores in the earlier wave obtained by participants who were on average 4.8 years younger. The use of a repeat cross-sectional design overcomes potential bias from retest effects. We show for the first time that although compositional changes of the older population in terms of education partly explain the Flynn effect, the increasing use of modern technology (i.e., computers and mobile phones) in the first decade of the 2000s also contributes to its explanation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: ageing population; cognition; Flynn effect; ELSA; SOEP
Research Programs: World Population (POP)
Bibliographic Reference: Intelligence; 52:90-96 [September-October 2015] (Published online 24 August 2015)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:53
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2016 12:53
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/11394

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