Ian Deary

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Ian J. Deary
Born (1954-05-17) 17 May 1954 (age 64)
Alma materThe University of Edinburgh
Known forResearch on intelligence, personality, ageing, and cognitive epidemiology
Scientific career
FieldsPsychology, Medicine, Epidemiology, Genetics, Behavior Genetics, Neuroscience
InstitutionsThe University of Edinburgh
Doctoral advisorChris Brand

Ian John Deary OBE[1], FBA, FRSE, FMedSci, is a Scottish psychologist known for work in the fields of intelligence, cognitive ageing, cognitive epidemiology, and personality.

Deary is Professor of Differential Psychology at The University of Edinburgh. He is former Director of the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology and co-Director of the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre.


Ian Deary has contributed to numerous topics in intelligence research. For instance, he has conducted several studies into the relationship between intelligence and elementary cognitive tasks such as reaction time[2] and inspection time,[3] and has investigated the overlap between intelligence and educational achievement.[4]

Deary was a founder of the field of cognitive epidemiology,[5] which studies the relationship of intelligence to health outcomes. He described and discussed cognitive epidemiology in a 2010 article for the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest.[6]

A 2010 review in Nature Reviews Neuroscience, co-authored by Deary, described research on the neuroscience of intelligence differences.[7] In 2012, the journal Annual Review of Psychology published an overview of the field of intelligence research, authored by Deary.[8]

Deary has authored over 800 articles in academic journals. His h-index calculated by Thomson Reuters's Web of Science is 74,[9] and calculated by Google Scholar is 108.[10]

Lothian Birth Cohort studies[edit]

Deary was one of the co-founders of the Lothian Birth Cohort studies of 1921 and 1936.[11] These studies collect data from older Scottish individuals who, aged 11, had their intelligence tested as part of the Scottish Mental Surveys of 1932 and 1947. From the year 2000 onward, Deary and colleagues contacted surviving members of these surveys living in the Edinburgh and Lothians areas and invited them to retake the same intelligence test, along with further batteries of cognitive tests.[12] Members of the cohorts born in 1921 were followed up at age of 79, and those born in 1936 at age 70. Interview and biomedical data were also collected from the cohort members to allow wide-ranging investigation of the causes and consequences of differences in cognition across the lifespan.

Using data from the Lothian Birth Cohort studies, Deary and colleagues have investigated the effects of ageing on cognition. For instance, studies have shown that intelligence between age 11 and age 79 is highly stable (correlation of around r = .66[13]), and that childhood and old age intelligence have a genetic correlation of .62.[14] A number of papers from the Lothian Birth Cohort studies, co-authored by Deary, have reported that higher childhood intelligence scores negatively predict earlier mortality; that is, more intelligent people live longer.[15]

Data from the Lothian Birth Cohort studies continue to be used for studies of the relationship of intelligence to a wide variety of health, educational and socioeconomic outcomes. In addition, genetic and brain imaging data from members of the Cohorts allow investigation of the biological causes of differences in intelligence and cognitive ageing.

Awards and recognition[edit]

Ian Deary is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the British Academy, the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and the Association for Psychological Science.[5][16] He is a past president of the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences,[17] and has held a Royal Society-Wolfson Research Merit Award (2003–2007) for research into cognitive ageing. In 2003 he received the first of the Chancellor's Awards at the University of Edinburgh, and in 2010 was named as a Distinguished European Personality Psychologist by the European Association of Personality Psychology. In 2014, Deary received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for Intelligence Research,[18] and received the James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award from the Association for Psychological Science in 2015.[5]

In the 2019 New Year Honours, Deary was awarded an OBE for services to the Social Sciences[19].

Personal life[edit]

Deary is singer, saxophonist, and lyricist with the Edinburgh-based band Dancing Mice.[20]


A full list of scientific publications for Ian Deary can be found at Google Scholar.[21]


  • Deary, I. J. (2000). Looking Down on Human Intelligence: From Psychometrics to the Brain. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • Deary, I. J. (2001). Intelligence: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • Matthews, G., Deary, I. J., & Whiteman, M. C. (2009). Personality Traits (3rd Edition). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Deary, I. J., Whalley, L. J., & Starr, J. M. (2009). A Lifetime of Intelligence. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.


  1. ^ https://www.theedinburghreporter.co.uk/2018/12/edinburgh-recipients-of-2018-honours/
  2. ^ Deary, Ian J.; Der, Geoff (2005). "Reaction Time Explains IQ's Association With Death". Psychological Science. 16 (1): 64–69. doi:10.1111/j.0956-7976.2005.00781.x. ISSN 0956-7976. PMID 15660853.
  3. ^ Deary, Ian J.; Stough, Con (1996). "Intelligence and inspection time: Achievements, prospects, and problems". American Psychologist. 51 (6): 599–608. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.51.6.599. ISSN 0003-066X.
  4. ^ Deary, Ian J.; Strand, Steve; Smith, Pauline; Fernandes, Cres (2007). "Intelligence and educational achievement" (PDF). Intelligence. 35 (1): 13–21. doi:10.1016/j.intell.2006.02.001. ISSN 0160-2896. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  5. ^ a b c "Deary Earns Award for Pioneering Cognitive Epidemiology Work". psychologicalscience.org. Association for Psychological Science. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  6. ^ Deary, I. J.; Weiss, A.; Batty, G. D. (2011). "Intelligence and Personality as Predictors of Illness and Death: How Researchers in Differential Psychology and Chronic Disease Epidemiology Are Collaborating to Understand and Address Health Inequalities" (PDF). Psychological Science in the Public Interest. 11 (2): 53–79. doi:10.1177/1529100610387081. ISSN 1529-1006. PMID 26168413. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  7. ^ Deary, Ian J.; Penke, Lars; Johnson, Wendy (2010). "The neuroscience of human intelligence differences" (PDF). Nature Reviews Neuroscience. 11: 201–11. doi:10.1038/nrn2793. ISSN 1471-003X. PMID 20145623. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  8. ^ Deary, Ian J. (2012). "Intelligence". Annual Review of Psychology. 63 (1): 453–482. doi:10.1146/annurev-psych-120710-100353. ISSN 0066-4308.
  9. ^ Thomson Reuters Web of Science citation report for Ian J Deary: http://apps.webofknowledge.com/CitationReport.do?product=UA&search_mode=CitationReport&SID=Q2nB2FWlEJpnTxZkinA&page=1&cr_pqid=6&viewType=summary
  10. ^ Google Scholar Citations for Ian Deary: https://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?user=aL7MX3sAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao
  11. ^ http://www.lothianbirthcohort.ed.ac.uk
  12. ^ Deary, I. J.; Gow, A. J.; Pattie, A.; Starr, J. M. (2011). "Cohort Profile: The Lothian Birth Cohorts of 1921 and 1936". International Journal of Epidemiology. 41 (6): 1576–1584. doi:10.1093/ije/dyr197. ISSN 0300-5771. PMID 22253310.
  13. ^ Gow, Alan J.; Johnson, Wendy; Pattie, Alison; Brett, Caroline E.; Roberts, Beverly; Starr, John M.; Deary, Ian J. (2011). "Stability and change in intelligence from age 11 to ages 70, 79, and 87: The Lothian Birth Cohorts of 1921 and 1936". Psychology and Aging. 26 (1): 232–240. doi:10.1037/a0021072. ISSN 1939-1498.
  14. ^ Deary, Ian J. et al. (2012). "Genetic contributions to stability and change in intelligence from childhood to old age". Nature. 482: 212–5. doi:10.1038/nature10781. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 22258510.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  15. ^ Gottfredson, Linda S.; Deary, Ian J. (2004). "Intelligence Predicts Health and Longevity, but Why?". Current Directions in Psychological Science. 13 (1): 1–4. doi:10.1111/j.0963-7214.2004.01301001.x. ISSN 0963-7214.
  16. ^ "Ian J. Deary: curriculum vitae" (PDF). ppls.ed.ac.uk. The University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 July 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ "2014 Lifetime achievment [sic] Award: Ian Deary". isironline.org. International Society for Intelligence Research. 14 December 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  19. ^ https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/768173/NY19_Queens_List__4_.pdf
  20. ^ http://www.dancingmice.co.uk
  21. ^ https://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?user=aL7MX3sAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao

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