HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Madrid, Spain or Virtually from your home or work.
Trine Flensborg Madsen, Speaker at Pediatrics Conferences
University of Southern Denmark, Denmark


Intelligence and personality are considered core mental characteristics in human development and have for decades been found to predict important life outcomes. It is, however, not clear how individual differences in these psychological outcomes arise, how they develop, and the extent to which they can be traced back to early-life development. 

The presentation will, in a series of research findings from Denmark demonstrate lifelong connections between factors in the first years of life and individual differences in intelligence and personality in adulthood. The studies are based on one of the oldest birth cohorts in the world, The Copenhagen Perinatal Cohort, which was established in 1959-61 with data on 8949 mothers and their 9125 children born at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen. Follow-up examinations were carried out during childhood and adulthood up until today.

Our studies suggest that several early-life factors are associated with intelligence and personality in adulthood, which underlines a stability of development from early to late life. Specific factors that may be especially important for development will be pointed out. These include age at attainment of infant milestones and milestones in the subsequent years, namely milestones related to language and social interaction. Additionally, infant parental socio-economic status and predictors related to physical size were important.

Whether these associations are caused by direct effects of early-life factors cannot be determined from our studies, but potential mechanisms will be discussed, including the possibility of causality. It will also be discussed how we can use this knowledge in a public health and societal perspective.

Audience Take Away

  • The audience can use this presentation to identify early-life factors which have a permanent association with intelligence and personality development
  • Milestone developmental factors will be discussed, including their most important predictors
  • The presentation will provide relevant discussions on the issue of causality with designing cohort studies of child development


Professor Flensborg-Madsen have MS in both Public health and Psychology from the University of Copenhagen. She received her PhD degree in 2009 at the same institution and in 2023 she obtained the position as Professor of Medical Psychology at the University of Copenhagen. Since 2024 she has been Professor of Child and Adolescent Health at the University of Southern Denmark. In her research she combines public health with psychology and epidemiology to investigate child development and she has published more +110 peer-reviewed research articles.