Fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence: what are they?

According to the dictionary of the Royal Academy of Spanish Language, “intelligence“It comes from the Latin term intelligentia. Some of the meanings we wish to save are as follows:

  • Ability to understand or understand

  • Ability to solve problems

  • Knowledge, understanding

  • Ability, dexterity and experience

What is intelligence?

Each of these meanings refers to a differentiated area in which intelligence regularly plays a key role. From a rational point of view, the understanding and understanding are essential factors in problem solving. The way we humans analyze the options available to us to find the best procedure towards an outcome we are unaware of involves a high level of cognitive development. Ability and dexterity are also the product of his intelligence.

the liveFinally, it has a two-way relationship with intelligence: they develop in parallel, and in return. However, the truth is that there has to be a categorization that better understands the different types of intelligence that exist, in order to better understand the concept and how it helps us solve tasks of such a disparate nature.

Intelligence skills

traditionally intelligence has been closely linked to these abilities:

  • Think and make associations between concepts

  • Solve everyday problems

  • Generate new problems (of greater complexity)

  • Create innovations and solve problems in the cultural field

Primary intelligence skills according to Thurstone

During the second third of the 20th century, the psychologist from the University of Chicago Louis leon thurstone (1887 – 1955) developed his studies on main intelligence skills, which resulted in the following:

  • Understanding of the language

  • perceptual agility

  • logical reasoning

  • Numerical and mathematical ability

  • Verbal fluency

  • spatial perception

Raymond Cattell

More than three decades later, the British psychologist Raymond Cattell (1905 – 1998) establishes a new distinction between two types of intelligences: fluid and crystallized intelligence.

Fluid intelligence, According to Cattell, refers to a inherited ability to think and reason in an abstract way, While the crystallized intelligence was born from live and embodies the level of acculturation, education and learning.

Intelligence skills according to Robert Sternberg

It wasn’t until 1985 that the Yale University psychologist Robert J. Sternberg (Born 1949) classified the different abilities that emanate from intelligence into three groups:

  • compositional intelligence: Represents the ability to acquire and store information.

  • intelligence experiencel: it is the competence based on experience and which we use to choose, code, combine and compare information in order to configure new concepts and impressions.

  • contextual intelligence: It refers to the adaptive behavior of the person in the natural and social environment that surrounds him.

Fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence

The difference between these two types of intelligence is generally related to the age variable. However, it is more accurate to conceive of the difference between fluid and crystallized intelligence based on the influence of heredity and / or environment.

Fluid intelligence

Fluid intelligence refers to the person’s ability to adapt and face new situations in an agile wayWithout prior learning, the experience or knowledge acquired supposes a decisive help for its manifestation.

Fluid intelligence is closely related to variables neurophysiological (For example, with the development of neural connections), and its influence is more pronounced because its development largely depends on the genetic basis. The same is not true of crystallized intelligence.

In this same sense, we can establish a link between the potential development of fluid intelligence and the growth of the child in a nurturing environment. Live in a positive and rewarding environment correlates with the development of neural connections in regions of the brain associated with memory, learning, and spatial orientation.

Components of Fluid Intelligence

Fluid intelligence is made up of:

  • The ability to reason with abstract content

  • Logical reasoning

  • The ability to build relationships or extract differences

Fluid intelligence it reaches its maximum point of development early, towards adolescence. This is a big difference from the heyday of crystallized intelligence. So, in adulthood, this ability tends to be gradually reduced as the body ages, just as neural structures deteriorate.

The decline in fluid intelligence can be due to several factors: regulatory aging, accidents, pathologies, drug use, etc. These last three factors can cause lesions or alterations in the various structures of the brain and the central nervous system.

→ Intelligence Crystallized

Crystallized intelligence is the set of abilities, strategies and knowledge that constitute the degree of cognitive development achieved through a person’s learning history.

Components of crystallized intelligence

Crystallized intelligence encompasses skills related to:

  • Understanding of the language

  • The degree of understanding and use of semantic relationships

  • Experience evaluation

  • The ability to make judgments and conclusions

  • Mechanical knowledge

  • Orientation in space

Crystallized intelligence it depends to a large extent on learning from the person’s experience in the cultural context in which he lives and tells. The development of one’s crystallized intelligence depends to a large extent on how well he invests his historical fluid intelligence in habits that allow him to learn new things. In other words, the intellectual development potential that we are born with (also known as historical fluid intelligence) will reach a greater or lesser level depending on the educational experiences that occur over the course of life.

In fact, the development of intellectual capacities can progress over the course of a lifetime as long as the person’s experiential context and motivation to continue learning allow it.

The way in which the experience of life intervenes in the intelligence of a person can be known by the observation of the effects of stress on the deterioro of brain structures. According to a recent study from the University of Toronto, the hormones the human body secretes when we are worried or nervous directly affect an area of ​​the brain related to cognitive functions, such as memory or orientation in space.

So, as we pointed out in the article “5 tips to increase your intelligence”, it is essential both the constant search for new knowledge and to lead a balanced life if we are to maintain our cognitive abilities at their best. .

Bibliographical references:

  • Rice, Philips F. et al. (1997). “Human Development.” Pearson.

  • Shaffer, D. (2005). “Developmental psychology: childhood and adolescence”. Edition, 5th ed. Publication, Mexico, DF

  • Triglia, Adrián; Regader, Bertrand; and García-Allen, Jonathan (2018). “What is intelligence? »EMSE publication.

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