Sunday, December 21, 2008

Smart soldiers first to die in action?

Smart soldiers first to die in action?
20 Dec 2008, AGENCIES (from TIMES OF INDIA)

A team of researchers studied Scottish soldiers who survived World War II and found that they were less intelligent than men who gave their lives defeating the Third Reich, a new study of British government records concludes.

The 491 Scots who died and had taken IQ tests at age 11 achieved an average IQ score of 100.8. Several thousand survivors who had taken the same test — which was administered to all Scottish children born in 1921 — averaged 97.4.

The unprecedented demands of the second world war — fought more with brains than with brawn compared with previous wars —might account for the skew, says Ian Deary, a psychologist at the University of Edinburgh, who led the study.

His team’s study melded records from Scottish army units with results of national tests performed by all 11-year-olds in 1932. The tests assessed verbal reasoning, mathematics and spatial skills.

“No other country has ever done such a whole-population test of the mental ability of its population,” Deary says. Other studies have found that childhood IQs accurately predict intelligence later in life.

Deary’s team had previously theorised that less intelligent men were more likely to be rejected for military service. The new study appears to refute that suggestion. Men who didn’t serve were more intelligent than surviving veterans, and of equal intelligence to those who died.

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