Conscientiousness, Extraversion, College Education, and Longevity of High-Ability Individuals

Peter A. Savelyev, William & Mary


Using the 1922–1991 Terman Life-Cycle Study of Children with High Ability, I investigate the relationship between childhood noncognitive skills, college education, and longevity of a high-IQ population and find a strong relationship between college education and longevity for men. Conscientiousness and Extraversion are strongly related to longevity of men, even though their effects on education are, at best, weak. I demonstrate a number of behavioral mechanisms behind the estimated effects on longevity. I also find that men with higher levels of education and skills have superior health over the lifespan. For women of this historical cohort (born around 1910), who live at least as long as college-educated men, I find no evidence of a relationship between education, noncognitive skills, and longevity.