Effects of Aging on Human intelligence


QUESTION 1: Effects of Aging on Humanintelligence

Effects on learning, memory and intelligence

There are two types of intelligence in humanbeings- fluid and crystalized intelligence. As the name suggests,fluid intelligence is devoid of experience or learning (Lesson 3,n.d). During tests for fluid intelligence, participants are oftenasked to find solutions to problems that they have never encounteredin their life. On the other hand, crystalized intelligence emanatesfrom previous experiences and learning encounters (Lesson 3, n.d).All that an individual has to do is recall and apply the same conceptin solving current problems. Aging has an effect on both types ofintelligence.

Research has shown that by the age of 60,people begin to lose their fluid intelligence. As people age, theloss of their fluid dimensions becomes imminent. For instance,functions such as perceptual speed take a downturn. Solving of newproblems becomes an issue. On the other hand, aspects of crystalizedintelligence such as speech prevail late into advanced old age.

Usually, aging does not affect the storagecapacity of the primary or secondary memory. The primary memory, alsoknown as the working memory, stores information that is required inthe short. Such information includes names, books, and movies.Secondary memory stores information for the long term. Suchinformation includes aspects such as survival skills, speech, andother rudimentary techniques.

However, with ageing comes the decrease inspeed when retrieving information from either types of memory. Theprocess of recognizing stimuli, transmitting it, processing it, andfinally responding to it, becomes slow. It is for these reasons thatold people have difficulties in decoding messages obtained throughsight or hearing. The reduced efficiency of processing stimuli in thenervous system also contributes to the aforementioned phenomenon.

Aging also has an effect on recall. Recallrefers to the ability to search through the vast stores ofinformation may be using a cue or a specific orienting question. Inyoung people, the process of recall is quick even though they keepfilling their memories with new information almost daily. In olderpeople, free recall becomes slow. This explains why some old peoplecannot remember even the names of the grandchildren. In other tests,it appears as though clued recall is not a badly off as free recall.For instance, after the handlers of an older person tell him that thekid in front of him is the progeny of his first-born son, then he ismore likely to remember the name.

When it comes to doing complex tasks, olderpeople seem to be doing poorly in comparison with younger people.Complex tasks require selective attention that involves barring outirrelevant data and selecting information that is relevant to thetask. Older people seem to be easily distracted during cognitiveprocesses.

Factors influencing intelligence inadulthood

Levels of education affect the intelligence ofa person during adulthood. People who are highly educated often havea better mastery of cognitive and recall processes because they havespent a lot of time doing the aforementioned mental activities. Thisexplains why some professors are still important consultants despitetheir advanced age. Highly educated people also know how to take careof themselves in order to avoid degenerating intelligence in theirold age.

Physical health also plays a key role ondetermining adult intelligence. Adults who suffer from mentaldiseases such as depression, dementia or Alzheimer’s are likely tohave low levels of intelligence. When such people performintelligence tests, they will often perform poor not because of theyare not intelligent, but because their physical health impairs theirbrain functions.

The biological aspect of an individual also hasa hand in determining adult intelligence. Some people are innatelyintelligent when compared with others. Even in preschool, somechildren are quick learners because they have a genetic advantage.Such children will be quick to learn new skills and their speech willbe eloquent even when they do not practice as hard as the rest. Thesame applies to people in their old age. Some may retain their fluidintelligence late into their 80’s. Some old people may be moreintelligent than 20 year olds who are in their prime.

Improving the cognitive ability of seniors

One of the strategies I would use to improvethe cognitive abilities of a group of seniors would be the use ofcognitive retraining. The strategy involves teaching adultstechniques to enable them remain active, keep memory, solve problems,and make decisions. Contrary to popular belief, such skills arelearned and the only benefit that genetically advantaged people haveis that they learn them quickly with less effort.

Writing lists for older people can help therecall names, dates, and chores. Lists serves as clues to cluedrecall. With time, the older people will get accustomed to the itemson the list and they will no longer need the list. This way, thestrategy would have helped them regain their intelligence through themastery of the basic items in the list.


Lesson 3: The Psychological Context of Aging:Mental and Emotional Well Being Copyright, 2015 PearsonEducation, Inc, 2/17/2015