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Intelligence is the most widely studied aspect in the psychology of aging. According to the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary, intelligence refers to the “ability to understand, learn or deal with trying or new situations, or the ability of applying knowledge in order to manipulate one’s environment or think abstractly as measured through objective criteria such as tests”. There exist two types of intelligence, namely crystallized intelligence and fluid intelligence.
Crystallized intelligence refers to the ability of using knowledge, experience and skills and relies on accessing information with the help of long term memory. This type of intelligence is an individual’s intellectual or lifetime achievement which is normally portrayed by the use of one’s general knowledge and vocabulary. Crystallized intelligence is thus known to improve an individual’s age since experiences are known to expand such knowledge.
Fluid Intelligence, on the other hand, concerns the ability to think logically and solve problems in situations which are novel and independent from knowledge acquired. It is also known as “fluid reasoning”. It is a capacity of analyzing novel problems, identifying relationships and patterns which underpin such problems and eventually extrapolate them when thinking logically. Because of its nature, fluid intelligence is vital for solving all logical problems with regard to mathematical, scientific, and technical types of problems. It includes both deductive and inductive reasoning (Belsky, 1999).
Similarities and Differences between Fluid and Crystallized Intelligence
While many individuals claimed that their intelligence had declined with age, conducted research suggested that while there was a decrease of fluid intelligence after adolescence, the crystallized intelligence had opposite effects since the intelligence continued to increase as one grew older. Both crystallized and fluid Intelligence constitute the global capacity of learning, reasoning, and being capable of solving problems which most individuals refer to as intelligence. These types of intelligence are complementary since some learning tasks may be mastered by exercising either crystallized intelligence or fluid intelligence.
In addition to the above mentioned, both types of intelligence are equally vital in daily life. For instance, an individual taking a psychology test or exam might need to depend on fluid intelligence in order to realize a strategy that will enable this person to solve a problem with statistics. Crystallized intelligence helps when one must to recall the exact or correct formulas needed for use. In general, both types of intelligence increase throughout childhood and adolescence, but fluid intelligence is known to peak in adolescence and progressively declines at the age of around 30 or 40 years. Crystallized intelligence is known to grow throughout an individual’s adulthood (Krauss, et al, 2010).
The Significance of the Seattle Longitudinal Study and How It Has Helped in Understanding the Mental Abilities of the Elderly
The Seattle Longitudinal Study of Adult Intelligence is a study which has carried out a survey among a group of more than 5000 individuals during four decades. This study has shown that there are no uniform patterns of change in their intellectual abilities across age related people. It has also indicated that some forms of support of the idea that most abilities which are genetically determined have decreased earlier as opposed to the abilities which are primarily acquired by experience or schooling.
The Seattle Longitudinal Study has greatly contributed to the understanding of mental abilities among elderly populations. Due to the cognitive training studies, it was observed that the decrease in the number of dwellings for older people in many societies took place only because of the misuse of the function which could be often reversed. The study also indicated that physical and mental abilities of individuals ought to be tested with an interval of seven years since it begun in 1995.
The Impact of Speed in Explaining IQ Loss in Older Adults
According to one of the professors of psychology at Case’s Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, people who lost intelligence or IQ scores were degrading as they grew older. as the result of the experiments carried out, it was seen that the motor speed could be a significant contributor to the age differences at general level of performance.
The Impact of Illness in Explaining IQ Loss in Older Adults
According to works of William Carlos Williams, many older adults were known to experience a loss and IQ reduces when aging. Thus, this led to the loss of self esteem, social status, physical capacities, and what was even worst, death of friends and loved ones. It was also observed that an acute illness could lead to a deterioration of health conditions or cause more problems which could result in a rapid decline of IQ in older populations or adults.
The Impact of Mental Stimulation in Explaining IQ Loss in Older Adults
Mental stimulation was known to have an effect on the IQ loss of older adults since it was ascertained that the presence of mental stimulation in the brain of older adults led to an increase of IQ as opposed to the lack of it.
Sternberg’s Tests of Practical Intelligence
Three intelligences of human cognition were proposed by Robert J. Sternberg. Analytical intelligence was the capability of evaluating and analyzing idea, solving problems, and making decisions. It also resolved that creative intelligence was known to involve going beyond what had been given in generating interesting and novel ideas. The test also indicated that practical intelligence was the ability of individuals to find the balance between themselves and environment’s demands.
Denney’s Unexercised and Exercised Abilities
According to Denney’s model (1984), it was postulated that intellectual capabilities which related to solving problems followed two types of developed functions. They were unexercised and exercised ones. Unexercised ability refers to a health function that common adults exhibit without a training or practice. The optimally exercised ability concerns the ability of healthy and common adults to demonstrate practice and training under the best conditions.
Neo-Piagetian Perspective on Adult Intelligence
The neo-plagetian models of intellectual development underscored the integration of emotional, social, and cognitive factors in understanding the intellectual development in adulthood (Erber, 2011).