Project Talent Pilot Study (2011-2012)

In 2011, 4,879 original Project Talent participants were randomly selected to take part in the Project Talent Pilot Study. The study was conducted in partnership with the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center with funding from National Institutes on Aging (NIA).

The study sought to determine the feasibility of conducting a major follow-up of Project Talent’s original participants, were then between the ages of 66 and 69, more than 50 years since the 1960 study was administered. The study explored whether the 1960 participants could be located using a variety of location techniques, whether, once located, they would be willing to answer a new Project Talent survey sent to them by mail, and to gauge their willingness to provide consent for administrative linkage to their social security records.

The survey included questions about participants’ lives over the past 50 years, including family and social life, military service and work, personality assessments and overall life satisfaction and identified rare populations, such as military veterans and twins, for future studies.

More than 85% of participants selected for inclusion in the Project Talent Pilot Study were located (around 15% were confirmed as deceased) and 78% responded to the mail survey, proving that a large-scale follow-up of original participants, 50 years after their initial involvement with Project Talent, was indeed extremely viable.