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About the research

Full project title: Assessment and harmonisation of cognitive measures in British birth cohorts

Young boy readingThis project will help researchers to more accurately explore the links between cognitive ability, social background and education. The project team will test the reliability of current cognitive measures when used to investigate relationships between a range of cognitive outcomes, including educational attainment and health.

This project will capitalise on the harmonisation work of previous CLOSER research projects, such as the harmonisation of education and social class data, to assess the intersection between cognitive test scores, education and socio-economic position over time, and the implications this has for wider inequalities.  The findings of this project will provide guidance for researchers and analysts wanting to use these measures, as well as being valuable for future data collection by identifying which cognitive measures are likely to add the most value to future datasets.

A wealth of cognitive measures (such as those measuring skill at reading or arithmetic) have been collected through childhood and adult life by five British birth cohort studies. This will be the first project to organise and compare the cognitive measures used between different studies and different sweeps of the same study.

Research lead

Dr Vanessa Moulton (Centre for Longitudinal Studies, UCL)

Studies used

Research outputs

Online resource

A guide to the cognitive measures in five British birth cohort studies – explore the measures used to assess diverse aspects of cognition across and within five British birth cohorts


  • Published paper illustrating how harmonised cognitive measures can be used across the cohorts.
  • Published paper outlining prior origins, validity and reliability of and previous work using the cognitive measures in cohort studies.

CLOSER Webinar: Examining cognition within and across longitudinal studies – Introducing CLOSER’s online cognitive measures guide

Download the presentation slides (PDF)

CLOSER Seminar

  • Presentation: Investigating cognition and cognitive ageing using longitudinal studies

Read about other CLOSER data harmonisation projects.