Fluid and Crystallized Intelligence

In studying Intelligence, researchers noticed that two correlated factors emerge: Crystallized and Fluid Intelligence. Charles Spearman, in particular, was the first to develop the concept of Fluid g (fg) and Crystallized g (cg). These two, in combination, appeared to explain one’s Intelligence. 

 

  • Fluid
  •    Crystallized
  • basic reasoning abilities     
  • abilities and skills
  • potential 
  • evident in the culture
  • function of our neural structures
  • function of our acquired knowledge
  • strong genetic influence
  • strongly influenced by cultural norms and values

     

    • differ in place and time

     

    Fluid ability is a basic reasoning ability which is generally a function of our neural structures. On the other hand, Crystallized ability consist of specific abilities and tasks, as we demonstrate them in our life and culture. Therefore, it is only logical to conclude that crystallized abilities would be greatly influenced by the norms and values that define our culture. Generally, we are not too eager to develop, or study and master skills, and abilities that would condemn us in our own society. In addition, Crystallized intelligence, as defined, is shaped to a large extent by the formal education we receive. This explains why it is not easy, if possible at all, to have a single test that could accurately measure cg across the globe. In addition, cg might differ greatly in different periods of time. Only a few decades ago, being able to work with a computer and utilize software effectively was not the norm. Now it is a general expectation for virtually all people. Researchers agree that the best single measure of crystallized ability is the vocabulary test. Yet again, you could see how this might introduce difficulties across different linguistic and cultural groups.

     

    By contrast, if we attempt to measure Fluid Ability we would have to challenge the individual with a task that is completely unfamiliar and requires no prior knowledge (such as number, or letter sequence).

     

    Testing both fg and cg reveals that the two are most strongly correlated in infancy. As children grow up and become more and more affected by personal experiences, family  and cultural norms, as well as school, these two abilities start to diverge.

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