Changes in Intelligence

In an earlier discussion of intelligence and creativity, I mentioned that Cattell (1963) posted two forms of intelligence: crystallized and fluid. Crystallized intelligence is primarily stored knowledge. For example, the subtests of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (1981) that test crystallized intelligence would include those that access vocabulary and information. Fluid intelligence is primarily the ability to manipulate knowledge. On the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale most of the fluid intelligence tests are in the performance section (e.g., picture completion and picture arrangement).

With aging there is a decrease in the performance IQ, suggesting that fluid intelligence might decrease with aging, and, as I mentioned, fluid intelligence might be more important in developing creative ideas than is crystallized intelligence. Many of the tests in the performance IQ are timed, and as people get older they get slower. This slowing is both electrophysiological (e.g., evoked potentials) and behavioral. Thus, some investigators have asked whether the lower scores on performance IQ associated with aging were related to slowing. Investigators, however, tested older versus younger individuals on tests from the performance IQ without timing the tests. Although allowing older individuals more time did improve their performance, even without using time to determine scores, older individuals did less well than did the younger individuals (Storandt, 1977). Thus, with advancing age there appears to be a continual increase in crystallized intelligence but a decrease of fluid intelligence (Ryan, Sattler, & Lopez, 2000). Although, as mentioned, there is not a direct relationship between intelligence and creativity, fluid intelligence is probably more related creativity than is crystallized intelligence. The decrease of fluid intelligence as a function of age appears to mirror the changes in creativity seen with aging, but this relationship is correlative, not explanatory.

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