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Schmiedek F, Lövdén M, von Oertzen T, Lindenberger U.2019. Within-person structures of daily cognitive performance cannot be inferred from between-person structures of cognitive abilities. PeerJ Preprints7:e27576v1https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.27576v1
Over a century of research on between-person differences has resulted in the consensus that human cognitive abilities are hierarchically organized, with a general factor, termed general intelligence or “g,” uppermost. Surprisingly, it is unknown whether this body of evidence is informative about how cognition is structured within individuals. Using data from 101 young adults performing nine cognitive tasks on 100 occasions distributed over six months, we find that the structures of individuals’ cognitive abilities vary among each other, and deviate greatly from the modal between-person structure. Working memory contributes the largest share of common variance to both between- and within-person structures, but the g factor is much less prominent within than between persons. We conclude that between-person structures of cognitive abilities cannot serve as a surrogate for within-person structures. To reveal the development and organization of human intelligence, individuals need to be studied over time.
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Quantile-quantile probability plots indicating normality of the distributions of Dimensions 1 and 2 for the multidimensional scaling (MDS) solution of within-person correlation matrices based on raw (A) and de-trended data (B), as well as between-person correlation matrices at pretest (C) and posttest (D).