Objective 11 4 aging and intelligence
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OBJECTIVE: 11-4 Aging and Intelligence. Do we get dumber as we get older?. Phase I: Cross Sectional Evidence for Intellectual Decline. Cross Sectional Research: Intelligence t ests and comparisons between people of various ages.

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OBJECTIVE: 11-4 Aging and Intelligence

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OBJECTIVE: 11-4Aging and Intelligence

Do we get dumber as we get older?

Phase I: Cross Sectional Evidence for Intellectual Decline

  • Cross Sectional Research: Intelligence tests and comparisons between people of various ages.

    • When administered to a representative sample of people, researchers have found that older adults give fewer correct answers than younger adults

    • “the decline of mental ability with age is part of the general aging process of the organism as a whole” – David Wechsler

    • Corporations usually have a mandatory retirement age to replace aging workers with younger employees.

Phase II: Longitudinal Evidence for Intellectual Stability

  • Longitudinal Intelligence Research:

    • -Retesting the same people over a period of years

    • -Results: Until late in life, intelligence stays stable, or even increases

  • Longitudinal vs. Cross Sectional

    • - Cross Sectional compared not only people of different ages, but of different eras.

      • For example: Comparing someone born in 1900 to someone born in 1950

      • The idea that intelligence declines over age was no longer viable.

    • Longitudinal Research also revealed that people over 75 years old have a steep decline in intelligence.

      • -People who live long enough for the end of the study may be healthier, more intelligent people than those who were removed from the study

Phase III: It all Depends


Intelligence is not a single trait, but a rather a number of distinct skills and abilities.

A study of more than 2000 people over 75 in Cambridge revealed a steeper intelligence decline.

Crystallized Intelligence:

One’s accumulated knowledge and verbal skills, tends to increaseswithage.

Fluid Intelligence:

The ability to reason speedily and abstractly (solving math problems) tends to decrease in late adulthood.

Social development

  • The differences between younger and older adults are not created by the physical and cognitive changes, but by life events associated with family relationships and work.

  • Example: going to a new job, meeting new people, certain expectations and demands.

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