How social position of origin relates to intelligence and level of education when adjusting for attained social position

Scand J Psychol. 2011 Jun;52(3):277-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9450.2010.00871.x. Epub 2011 Jan 24.


Intelligence and its relationship to achievement is a classical question within psychology. In accordance with earlier British studies, the present study, based on conscription data and follow-ups for Swedish men born 1949-51 (N = 36,156), found that when adjusting for attained social position, people with a high social position of origin tend to have higher intelligence and level of education than people with a lower social position of origin. These results could be seen to contradict the claim that more merit, at least when operationalized as intelligence or education, is required from people with a low social position of origin in order to attain a certain social level.

MeSH terms

  • Achievement*
  • Adult
  • Career Mobility
  • Educational Status*
  • Hierarchy, Social*
  • Humans
  • Intelligence*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Military Personnel / psychology*
  • Social Class*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Sweden