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BPS/BA annual lecture video available
If you missed our annual joint lecture with the British Academy on the Scottish Mental Surveys of 1932 and 1947 you will be pleased to know that a recording of the lecture is now available.
The lecture celebrated the distinctive Scottish contribution to understanding how our cognitive abilities change over a lifetime via the massive but almost-forgotten contributions of Sir Godfrey Thomson to cognitive theory and testing, education, and statistics. He was closely involved in the projects which assessed the intelligence of almost all Scottish 11-year-olds twice: in 1932 and in 1947 (The Scottish Mental Surveys). His work is the foundation of the recent follow up studies involving the original participants now in their 70s and 90s.
The lecturer was Professor Ian Deary who is Professor of Differential Psychology at the University of Edinburgh, and Director of its MRC-administered Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology. He explained:
“Building on Sir Godfrey Thomson’s path-breaking and comprehensive research my team conducts follow-up studies that have studied the social backgrounds, health, cognitive abilities, lifestyles and brain structure of over 1000 from the original Mental Surveys. The participants now in their 70s and 90s.
It’s fascinating having data spanning most of the human life course. Although this study started in the 1930s it is helping to inform our current understanding of healthy ageing, especially with regard to cognitive abilities.
In the lecture I explained how Thomson’s contributions have been reassessed, and gave examples of factors that do and do not influence how cognitive abilities change from childhood to old age.”