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Cognitive abilities measured in the 1970 British Cohort Study

Explore what cognitive ability domains were measured in the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) cohort by age and test used.

For background guidance on the table below, see the main harmonisation feasibility page in this guide.

Test5 yrs10 yrs16 yrs42 yrs46-47 yrs
(Schonell) Reading testGc/Grw
English Picture Vocabulary Test (EPVT)/ Pictorial Language Comprehension Test (PLCT)GcGc
Copying Designs Test (CDT)Gv
Human Figure Drawing (HFD)Gv
Complete a Profile test (CPT)Gv
Edinburgh Reading Test (SV-ERT)Gc/GrwGc/Grw
Friendly Maths TestGq
Spelling Dictation task (SDT)Grw
(Word) Similarities (BAS)Gc
Word Definitions (BAS)Gc
Recall of Digits (BAS)Gsm
Matrices (BAS)GfGf
Vocabulary test (APU)GcGc
Arithmetic test (APU)Gq
Spelling testGrw
Verbal Fluency (Animal Naming)Glr
Verbal Learning / Word List RecallGlr
Timed Letter Search / Letter CancellationGv/Gs


Gf=Fluid reasoning/fluid intelligence; Gsm=Short-term memory; Glr=Long-term storage & retrieval; Gs=Processing speed; Gc=Acquired knowledge/crystallised intelligence; Grw=Reading and writing; Gq=Quantitative knowledge; Gv=Visual processing.

Explanations of the individual ability domains are provided in the introductory section of this guide.

Find out more about each of the cognitive tests administered to the BCS70 cohort in our searchable overview of measures.

Explore what cognitive abilities have been measured by the other cohort studies in this guide:

Explore where similar cognitive abilities have been measured across the studies at different ages:

This page is part of CLOSER’s ‘A guide to the cognitive measures in five British birth cohort studies’.