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decorative star graphic  Middle Adulthood:
Cognitive Development
- Intelligence -

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Ψ  Historically, psychologists have thought of intelligence as a single quantity.

Ψ  Charles Spearman, proposed that there is such a thing as general intelligence, which he called g.

Ψ  Research has shown a general trend towards increasing average IQ scores. This trend is called the Flynn Effect & because of it, IQ tests are renormed every 15 years or so.

Ψ  Recently, researchers have begun to doubt whether there is an inevitable decline in cognitive functioning with age. Schaie developed the cross-sequential research design to test this. Each time his original subjects were retested (every 7 years in this longitudinal design), he also tested a new group of adults at each age interval and then followed them longitudinally as well. Schaie’s findings in the Seattle Longitudinal Study indicate that from age 20 until the late 50s, cognitive abilities are more likely to increase than decrease, with the exception of arithmetic skills, which begin to shift slightly downward by age 40. Not until the 80s does performance fall below the middle range of performance for young adults.

Ψ  In the 60’s, Cattell & Horn differentiated fluid intelligence from crystallized intelligence,

       •  Fluid intelligence: flexible reasoning and is made up of the basic mental abilities such as inductive reasoning, abstract thinking and speed of thinking required for understanding any subject.

       •  Crystallized intelligence: refers to the accumulation of facts, information and knowledge that comes with education and experience within a particular culture.

       •  Originally, psychologists believed that fluid intelligence was primarily genetic and that crystallized intelligence was primarily learned. This nature-nurture distinction is probably invalid, in part because the acquisition of crystallized intelligence is affected by the quality of fluid intelligence.

       •  Fluid intelligence declines during adulthood, although this decline is temporarily masked by an increase in crystallized intelligence. This contrast is revealed in WAIS scores: verbal IQ remains relatively stable throughout adulthood, while performance IQ drops an average of 25 points.

Ψ   Robert Sternberg  has proposed that intelligence is composed of three distinct parts.

       •  Analytic / Academic: consists of mental processes that foster efficient learning, remembering & thinking. Note: Multiple choice tests, with one & only one right answer reward analytic intelligence.

       •  Creative: involves the capacity to be flexible and innovative when dealing with new situations.
       •  Practical: enables the person to adapt his/her abilities to contextual demands.

It's a Mickey Mouse World , isn't it?

Ψ  Gardner maintains that each of his eight intelligences has its own neurological network in the brain; the value placed on each dimension depends on the particular cultural environment & therefore on the training of the individual & on those evaluating him or her.
Ψ  Cultures that emphasize activities that the old can do, such as yoga & tai-chi have healthier elderly people because that aspect of intelligence is still practiced.

Ψ  Gardner's eight Intelligences are:
    •  Linguistic
     •  Logical-Mathematical
      •  Musical
       •  Spatial
        •  Body-Kinesthetic
         •  Interpersonal ( social-understanding )
          •  Intrapersonal ( self understanding )
           •  Naturalistic

Growth & Development
Robert C. Gates
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