Fluid intelligence and psychosocial outcome: from logical problem solving to social adaptation

PLoS One. 2011;6(9):e24858. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024858. Epub 2011 Sep 21.


Background: While fluid intelligence has proved to be central to executive functioning, logical reasoning and other frontal functions, the role of this ability in psychosocial adaptation has not been well characterized.

Methodology/principal findings: A random-probabilistic sample of 2370 secondary school students completed measures of fluid intelligence (Raven's Progressive Matrices, RPM) and several measures of psychological adaptation: bullying (Delaware Bullying Questionnaire), domestic abuse of adolescents (Conflict Tactic Scale), drug intake (ONUDD), self-esteem (Rosenberg's Self Esteem Scale) and the Perceived Mental Health Scale (Spanish adaptation). Lower fluid intelligence scores were associated with physical violence, both in the role of victim and victimizer. Drug intake, especially cannabis, cocaine and inhalants and lower self-esteem were also associated with lower fluid intelligence. Finally, scores on the perceived mental health assessment were better when fluid intelligence scores were higher.

Conclusions/significance: Our results show evidence of a strong association between psychosocial adaptation and fluid intelligence, suggesting that the latter is not only central to executive functioning but also forms part of a more general capacity for adaptation to social contexts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bullying / psychology
  • Child
  • Child Abuse / psychology
  • Data Collection
  • Educational Status
  • Executive Function
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence* / physiology
  • Logic*
  • Male
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Parents
  • Perception
  • Problem Solving* / physiology
  • Psychology
  • Self Concept
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology