J Epidemiol Community Health 61:378-384 doi:10.1136/jech.2005.039206
  • Continuing professional education

Cognitive epidemiology

  1. Ian J Deary1,
  2. G David Batty1,2
  1. 1Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  2. 2MRC Social & Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor I J Deary
 Department of Psychology, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, University of Edinburgh, 7 George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9JZ, Scotland, UK;i.deary{at}
  • Accepted 7 September 2005


This glossary provides a guide to some concepts, findings and issues of discussion in the new field of research in which intelligence test scores are associated with mortality and morbidity. Intelligence tests are devised and studied by differential psychologists. Some of the major concepts in differential psychology are explained, especially those regarding cognitive ability testing. Some aspects of IQ (intelligence) tests are described and some of the major tests are outlined. A short guide is given to the main statistical techniques used by differential psychologists in the study of human mental abilities. There is a discussion of common epidemiological concepts in the context of cognitive epidemiology.


  • Competing interests: None declared.

  • Note added in proof. In the period between this glossary being accepted for publication and the authors receiving the proofs there have been many publications in the new field of cognitive epidemiology. It is not possible to incorporate them here. However, readers might find especially useful the systematic review of studies linking early life IQ and later mortality risk.81