Monday, October 7, 2013

Fluid intelligence and Crystallized intelligence - What does that mean?

As we get older we sometimes feel we are not keeping up with the younger generation and might wonder if we are losing our mental acuity. I am relieved to learn that all of the knowledge and experience I've gained in my life (crystallized intelligence) offsets the difficulty I seem to have lately with new technology. I have patience and I will conquer all the new stuff on my new computer!
I was most happy to read the following article in a newsletter I receive. You might find it interesting as well.

You May Be Older… But You're Wiser Too!
It might take our aging brains longer to process information, but research shows experience more than makes up for it.
You see, there are two types of intelligence that affect our decision-making as we age. The first is fluid intelligence, the ability to learn and process information. The other is crystallized intelligence. This refers to experience and accumulated knowledge.
Previous research shows fluid intelligence declines with aging. However, crystallized intelligence tends to increase with age.
Given these changes, a group of researchers wondered if people become better or worse decision-makers as they grow older. And if older adults make better decisions, how do they make up for their lower levels of fluid intelligence?
To answer this question, researchers at the University of California Riverside recruited a group of 336 people. Just over half the participants were between the ages of 18 and 29. The remaining subjects were in the 60 to 82 age group.
Each of these groups went through a battery of intelligence tests, including vocabulary testing, math questions and general knowledge.
They were also asked a series of questions that measured their ability to understand financial issues – from knowledge of compound interest and credit card debt to understanding gains and losses.
The researchers discovered the older participants performed as well or better than the younger participants in decision-making measures. They also had more patience and a better understanding of debt and finance.

"The findings confirm our hypothesis that experience and acquired knowledge from a lifetime of decision making help offset the declining ability to learn and process new information," co-author Ye Li said.

To compensate for decreased fluid intelligence, Li suggests using tools and aids around you to help. For example, using a calculator or consulting an advisor when making financial decisions can help support the decision-making process, no matter what your age.


DJan said...

Very interesting and inspiring to me, well into the second group! I also appreciate the link. Off to read more. "=_

Maren O. Mitchell said...

I feel smarter and more patient already, Glenda! Thanks!

Glenda C. Beall said...

DJan and Maren,
Crystallized intelligence is what I call wisdom, I think. It is all that we accumulate in our brains over the years we live.
It can't be bought and it can't be taught. It has to be gathered from our life experiences.