The study included 1,184 people born in Britain in 1946. He took cognitive tests at age eight and again at age 69. People’s educational level at age 26, their participation in affluent leisure activities at age 43, and occupation by age 53 were assessed. Their reading ability at age 53 was also assessed as a measure of general lifelong learning, regardless of education and occupation. He also took a cognitive test, which was done at the age of 69, and his overall score was 100. The average score for this group was 92, with the lowest being 53 and the highest being 100.
Researchers found that higher cognitive ability in childhood, a higher index of cognitive reserve, and higher reading ability were associated with higher cognitive test scores at age 69. They also found that for each unit increase in childhood test scores, cognitive test scores in later life increased by an average of 0.10 points. For each unit increase in cognitive reserve index, cognitive scores increased by an average of 0.07 points, and for each unit increase in reading ability, cognitive scores increased by an average of 0.22 points.