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Kathleen Stassen Berger

Part VII

Chapter Twenty-one

Adulthood: Cognitive Development


What is Intelligence? Selective Gains and Losses

Prepared by Madeleine Lacefield Tattoon, M.A.

Adulthood: Cognitive Development

Do people get smarter or dumber as they get older?

What is Intelligence?
general intelligence
the idea that intelligence is one basic trait, underlying all cognitive abilities
according to this concept people have varying levels of this general ability

Research on Age and Intelligence


Cross-Sectional Research
a research designed that compares groups of people who differ in age but are similar in other important characteristics

Research on Age and Intelligence


Cross-Sectional Research
in the first half of the twentieth century, psychologists used this method of research; convinced that intelligence rose in childhood, peaked in adolescence, and then declined gradually

Research on Age and Intelligence


Longitudinal Research
a research design that follows the same individuals over time, repeatedly assessing their development. Bailey retested another group of adults who had been tested as children and who were then 36-years-old and concluded that the intellectual potential for continued learning is unimpaired through the first 36 years of life and probably beyond
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Research on Age and Intelligence


The Flynn Effect
a trend toward increasing average IQ found in all developed nations during the twentieth century

Research on Age and Intelligence


Cross-Sequential Research
a hybrid research method in which researchers first study several groups of people of different ages (a crosssectional approach) and then follow those groups over the years (a longitudinal approach) (also called cohort-sequential or time-sequential research)
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Research on Age and Intelligence


Cross-Sequential Research
Seattle Longitudinal Study
the first cross-sequential study of adult intelligencethis study began in 1956; the most recent testing was conducted in 2005
this study confirmed and extended what others had foundpeople improve in most mental abilities during adulthood

Research on Age and Intelligence


Components of Intelligence: Many and Varied developmentalists look at patterns of cognitive gains and losses over the adult years

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Research on Age and Intelligence


Two Clusters: Fluid and Crystallized Fluid intelligence
those types of basic intelligence that make learning of all sorts quick and thoroughabilities such as short-term memory, abstract thought, and speed of thinking are all usually considered part of fluid intelligence

Crystallized intelligence
those types of intellectual ability that reflect accumulated learning--vocabulary and general information are examplessome developmental psychologists think crystallized intelligence increases with age, while fluid intelligence declines
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Research on Age and Intelligence


Three forms of intelligence: Sternberg
analytic intelligence
a form of intelligence that involves such mental processes as abstract planning, strategy selection, focused attention, and information processing, as well as verbal and logical skill

creative intelligence
a form of intelligence that involves the capacity to be intellectually flexible and innovative

practical intelligence
the intellectual skills used in everyday problem solving

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Research on Age and Intelligence


Eight (brain-based) Intelligences: Gardner
1. linguistic 2. logical-mathematical 3. musical 4. spatial 5. bodily-kinesthetic 6. naturalistic 7. social-understanding 8. self-understanding
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Research on Age and Intelligence


Diversity and Intelligence
analytic intelligence,
valued in high school and college
students are expected to remember and analyze ideas

creative intelligence,
prized if life circumstances change and new challenges arise
which makes it much more valued in some cultures and eras than others

practical intelligence,
useful after college days are over
when the demands of daily life are omnipresent
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Research on Age and Intelligence


An Example of Practical Intelligence
from rural Kenya
a smart child is one who knows which herbal medicines cure which diseases, not one who excels in school

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Research on Age and Intelligence


Which Intelligence is Valued?
cultural and historical context often emphasize one form of intelligence over others cultural assumptions affect concept of intelligence intelligence tests and school curriculums reflect assumptions about the construct being measured

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Selective Gains and Losses


aging neurons, cultural pressures, past education, current life events all affect intelligencenone of these is under direct individual control

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Selective Gains and Losses


Optimization and Compensation
selective optimization with compensation
the theory, developed by Paul and Margaret Baltes, that people try to maintain a balance in their lives by looking for the best way to compensate for physical and cognitive losses and to become more proficient in activities they can already do well

selective expert
someone who is notably more skilled and knowledgeable than the average person about whichever activities are personally meaningful to them

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Selective Gains and Losses


Expert Cognitive
an expert is notably more skilled, proficient, and knowledgeable at a particular task than the average person

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Selective Gains and Losses


Expert Cognitive
intuitive
novices follow formal procedures and rules experts rely more on their past experiences and on immediate contexts

their actions are therefore more intuitive and less stereotypic

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Selective Gains and Losses


Automatic
elements of expert performance are automatic complex actions and thoughts become routine, making it appear the task is performed instinctively experts process incoming information more quickly and analyze it more efficiently than nonexperts, their efforts appear nonconscious

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Selective Gains and Losses


strategic
experts have more and better strategies, especially when problems are unexpected strategies may be the most crucial differences between a skilled person and an unskilled one

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Selective Gains and Losses


flexible
because they are intuitive, automatic, and strategic, experts are also more flexible they enjoy the challenges when things dont go as planned

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Selective Gains and Losses


Expertise and Age
the relationship between expertise and age is not straightforward time is essential not everyone becomes an expert as he or she grows older

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Selective Gains and Losses


Older Workers: Experts or Has-Beens?
research on cognitive plasticity confirms that experienced adults often use selective optimization with compensation apparent in the everyday workplace best employees may be the older onesif motivated

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Selective Gains and Losses


Human Relations Expertise.
the most important skill for people of every age to learn is how to get along with other people, understanding their emotional needs, and helping them function well the most common test of expert human relations occurs with parentinga parent is patient, good humored and consistenttraits that become more common with age
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