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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Are educated people smarter? Link is weakening, says study in Norway



Cognitive ability no longer is linked strongly to years of education, concludes a Norwegian study published in published in Scientific Reports, reports Vladimir Hedrih in PsyPost. Expanding access to education could have helped talented people rise above their social class, making Norway more meritocratic, researchers speculated. But it didn't work that way.


Researchers looked at cognitive tests of males born between 1950 to 1991 and their educational attainment by age 30. The men, who were evaluated as military draftees, were tested on "a range of mental skills and capabilities, including problem-solving, memory, reasoning, and critical thinking," Hedrih writes.


During the period, as Norway significantly improved access to high school and college education, the correlation between cognitive ability and educational attainment declined, the study found. The hypothesis that "educational attainment increasingly aligns with individual level ability as educational opportunities are broadened" did not hold up, researchers wrote. The "potentially more plausible explanation" is that education has become "substantially less selective." Higher education -- or, at least, years of schooling -- no longer is a strong signal of intelligence.


There is no comparable data for Norwegian women.

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