Terman Life-Cycle Study of Children with High Ability, United States, 1922-1991 (ICPSR 8092)

Version Date: Jun 26, 2018 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Lewis M. Terman


Version V4 ()

  • V4 [2018-06-26]
  • V3 [1992-02-16] unpublished
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This study of the personal and life characteristics of children with high ability follows the 1,528 respondents from 1922 through the latest series of interviews with the surviving cohort of 720 in 1986. The original research objectives were to replace myths about intellectually superior children with documented facts. In 1922, the children were identified on the basis of an intelligence test as being in the top one percent of the population. Their development was followed over the next sixty years via questionnaires, personal interviews, and various test instruments. Questions were asked about their health, physical and emotional development, school histories, recreational activities, home life, family background, educational, vocational, and marital histories. Questions were also asked about income, emotional stability, and socio-political attitudes. The follow-up questionnaires were concerned with the evolution of the respondents' careers, activity patterns, and personal adjustment. Since 1972 there has been special emphasis on the aging process. These longitudinal data will continue to be collected as long as living members of the original cohort contribute data.

Terman, Lewis M. Terman Life-Cycle Study of Children with High Ability, United States, 1922-1991. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2018-06-26. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR08092.v4

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The data collection may be disseminated only to academic researchers. All other users must get express written permission from the Principal Investigators. While the data tapes cannot be provided to those at nonacademic institutions, some limited data analyses can be conducted on request. For time and cost estimates of such analyses, please contact the Director, Member Services, ICPSR.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

1922 -- 1991
1922 -- 1991
  1. A description of the extensive cleaning and processing carried out by the Principal Investigators, with the aid of a grant from the National Institute on Aging, appears in the introduction to the printed documentation.


1,528 children living in California in 1922, with birthdates scattered around a mean of 1910, with a standard deviation of 4 years. By the final followup, there were 812 participants remaining in the study.

Children living in California in 1922 with an average age of 12 and a Stanford Binet Intelligence test score of 135 or more.

questionnaires filled out by parents, teachers, subjects and spouses, personal interviews, and test instruments



2018-06-26 Study updated to add Dataset 7 (1922 Parents' Information Parts II and IV, Males).

2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • Terman, Lewis M. Terman Life-Cycle Study of Children with High Ability, United States, 1922-1991. ICPSR08092-v4. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2018-06-26. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR08092.v4


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