Researchers at Edinburgh University and the Medical Research Council in Glasgow in Britain have found that people's reaction times are a far better indicator of their chances of living a long and healthy life.
The finding of the study is that men and women with the most sluggish response times are more than twice as likely to die prematurely. The study has been published in the 'Intelligence' journal.According to the researchers, people's reaction times are a measure of their intelligence which in turn is an indicator of their body's "system integrity", that is, how well it is wired together.
The sample of the study consisted of 7,414 people over 20 years (since 1980s) and analysed their responses to come to the conclusion. Since then, 1,289 have died, 568 of them from heart disease.The subjects’ reaction times were measured with an electrical device fitted with a small screen and five numbered buttons.
They had to press the matching button when a number appeared on screen.The results showed that people with slow reactions were 2.6 times more likely to die prematurely from any cause.The researchers said, "It has been hypothesised that reaction time, as a measure of speed of the brain's information-processing capacity, may be a marker for bodily system integrity."This way, slower reaction times, or poorer information-processing ability, might be an indication of suboptimal physiological functioning, which may in turn be related to early death." The researchers reasoned.