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The Estimated Full-Scale Intellectual Abilities of U.S. Army Aviators

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Kratz K, Poppen B, and Burroughs L. The estimated full-scale intellectual abilities of U.S. Army aviators. Aviat Space Environ Med 2007; 78:(5, Suppl.):B261–B267.

Introduction: The intellectual abilities of U.S. Army aviators have received a paucity of research attention over the years. The resultant lack of idiographic and aggregate data on this population has a direct impact on the neuropsychologist’s ability to make clinical recommendations regarding a return to cognitive baseline following a neurological insult. Similarly, no research has assessed the generalizability of U.S. Air Force (USAF) research on premorbid aviator intellectual abilities to U.S. Army aviators. Methods: To establish estimates of general intellectual abilities in U.S. Army aviators, 1050 rated U.S. Army aviators without a head injury history were randomly selected from an aeromedical database and coupled with corresponding personnel data that contained Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) scores. Estimated Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III (WAIS-III) and Multidimensional Aptitude Battery (MAB) full-scale intellectual (FSIQ) abilities were computed. Results: Mean U.S. Army aviator intellectual abilities were found to fall in the high average to superior range, with a notably large range of scores. Significant differences between these results and those of previously published USAF aviators on the MAB were found. Significant differences based on gender were absent. Significant differences based on rank were found. Discussion: Findings suggest estimated U.S. Army aviator intellectual abilities exceed previously published findings, with the wide range and non-normal distribution of scores suggesting idiographic baseline data would be clinically ideal for today’s U.S. Army aviators. Clinical and operational benefits of establishing baseline cognitive abilities are presented. In the absence of baseline data, estimating the WAIS-III FSIQ score is a viable alternative in determining one’s premorbid intellectual abilities.
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Keywords: Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery; Multidimensional Aptitude Battery; U.S. Air Force aviators; Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale; general intelligence

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2007

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