Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Using your brain   posted by Razib @ 1/12/2010 03:17:00 PM

Frequent Cognitive Activity Compensates for Education Differences in Episodic Memory:
Results: The two cognitive measures were regressed on education, cognitive activity frequency, and their interaction, while controlling for the covariates. Education and cognitive activity were significantly correlated with both cognitive abilities. The interaction of education and cognitive activity was significant for episodic memory but not for executive functioning.

Conclusion: Those with lower education had lower cognitive functioning, but this was qualified by level of cognitive activity. For those with lower education, engaging frequently in cognitive activities showed significant compensatory benefits for episodic memory, which has promise for reducing social disparities in cognitive aging."

Here's some survey data on books from a few years ago, One in Four Read No Books Last Year:
One in four adults read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday. Of those who did read, women and older people were most avid, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices.


"I just get sleepy when I read," said Richard Bustos of Dallas, a habit with which millions of Americans can doubtless identify. Bustos, a 34-year-old project manager for a telecommunications company, said he had not read any books in the last year and would rather spend time in his backyard pool.


In 2004, a National Endowment for the Arts report titled "Reading at Risk" found only 57 percent of American adults had read a book in 2002, a four percentage point drop in a decade. The study faulted television, movies and the Internet.

Who are the 27 percent of people the AP-Ipsos poll found hadn't read a single book this year? Nearly a third of men and a quarter of women fit that category. They tend to be older, less educated, lower income, minorities, from rural areas and less religious.


People from the West and Midwest are more likely to have read at least one book in the past year. Southerners who do read, however, tend to read more books, mostly religious books and romance novels, than people from other regions. Whites read more than blacks and Hispanics, and those who said they never attend religious services read nearly twice as many as those who attend frequently.

There was even some political variety evident, with Democrats and liberals typically reading slightly more books than Republicans and conservatives.

The Bible and religious works were read by two-thirds in the survey, more than all other categories. Popular fiction, histories, biographies and mysteries were all cited by about half, while one in five read romance novels. Every other genre - including politics, poetry and classical literature - were named by fewer than five percent of readers.

More women than men read every major category of books except for history and biography. Industry experts said that confirms their observation that men tend to prefer nonfiction.

Here's the GSS when it comes to comparing educational attainment & WORDSUM, limiting the sample to 1998 and after:

I assume readers of this weblog are more familiar with the dull who have educational qualifications, but it is important to note that there are a non-trivial number of brights who for whatever reason didn't go on to obtain higher education (though this is more true of older age cohorts in the United States).