How Much Does Education Improve Intelligence? A Meta-Analysis

Stuart J. Ritchie*, Elliot M. Tucker-Drob

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

336 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Intelligence test scores and educational duration are positively correlated. This correlation could be interpreted in two ways: Students with greater propensity for intelligence go on to complete more education, or a longer education increases intelligence. We meta-analyzed three categories of quasiexperimental studies of educational effects on intelligence: those estimating education-intelligence associations after controlling for earlier intelligence, those using compulsory schooling policy changes as instrumental variables, and those using regression-discontinuity designs on school-entry age cutoffs. Across 142 effect sizes from 42 data sets involving over 600,000 participants, we found consistent evidence for beneficial effects of education on cognitive abilities of approximately 1 to 5 IQ points for an additional year of education. Moderator analyses indicated that the effects persisted across the life span and were present on all broad categories of cognitive ability studied. Education appears to be the most consistent, robust, and durable method yet to be identified for raising intelligence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1358-1369
Number of pages12
JournalPsychological Science
Volume29
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018

Keywords

  • education
  • intelligence
  • meta-analysis
  • open data
  • quasiexperimental

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'How Much Does Education Improve Intelligence? A Meta-Analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this