According to Psychology, Intelligence is the capacity to acquire new knowledge and to apply the knowledge acquired in the past. It has various dimensions such as learning, reasoning, self-awareness, critical thinking, problem-solving, creating, etc. but the core of intelligence lies in its cognitive ability to remember, reproduce and applying the learning to deal with physical and abstract situations. We all learn from our experiences differently and try to adapt to new situations in our own ways. This indicates that intelligence varies from person to person. Raymond Cattell, the psychologist who significantly contributed to the theory of intelligence, suggested that the intelligence can be classified into two parts- a) fluid intelligence and b) crystallized intelligence.
Fluid intelligence deals with the ability to adapt oneself in new surroundings and the efficiency to solve novel problems or challenges that require an individual to take indigenous action on their own without any prior preparation. Fluid intelligence is considered to be at its peak in the age of 20s and tends to degenerate thereafter. People with this intelligence are kind of ‘street smart’. Crystallized intelligence is about applying the knowledge learned from past experiences such as counting the books in a library or remembering facts about a specific topic and can be referred as ‘book smart’. This form of intelligence is believed to increase with age.
Crystallized intelligence is the ability to use the knowledge we have stored in our heads either through past experiences or learning. It is based on facts and increases as we grow older. While fluid intelligence starts declining after we attain our adulthood, we can still get better with our crystallized intelligence. Here are a few simple ways that can greatly influence our intellectual levels and help us make wiser than ever.
Read more often: Whether you are a student, a working professional, a homemaker or a retired person, take on the habit of reading. Search for your old books and re-read them or go for new ones and start afresh, but do read. Reading often will give you food for thought, increase your vocabulary and you will discover the different ways of expressions besides the knowledge you get from the books.
Improve your qualifications: Take on a study course. There are many ways you can enroll yourself for enhancing your qualification these days such as online courses, distance education, open schools, private coaching and university colleges. It is a fact that the more accumulated knowledge you have, better will be your crystallized intelligence. Enhancing your education will also help you improve your growth prospects in terms of career.
Try learning a new language: The researches have proved that cognition gets better when an individual learns a new language or even a new skill. So, take up piano lessons, or start learning a new language and you will not only find you with improved intelligence but also discover a more confident version of yours.
Brain training: This is a training process in which focus is laid on both long term memory and short term working memory. It involves recalling activities, reproduction of ideas, solving puzzles, taking challenges, problem-solving exercises that help an individual to think and practice a variety of ideas to deal with abstract and real-life situations. Such training also proves very effective in improving crystallized intelligence.