Has your child been invited to participate in a simulated case study competition yet? Have you heard of a host of time-based entrance tests based on logic puzzles, multiple choice questions and case study passages? Well, these competitions and tests often assess the fluid intelligence of a candidate as an important evaluation of being able to leverage core knowledge in varied situations!
Fluid intelligence can be defined as the ability to reason and generate or manipulate different types of new information in real time. A simple example of it is the ability to solve puzzles. We rely on fluid intelligence when we encounter an entirely new problem that cannot be solved directly with our existing knowledge, but needs application.
Crystallized intelligence on the other hand, is information children have learned in the past and stored it in memory. Studies show that fluid and crystallized intelligences are connected.
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Research shows that fluid intelligence increases through childhood, peaks at adolescence, and declines during adulthood. While, crystallized intelligence increases through childhood, and slows with aging, then stabilizes or continues to increase throughout life. If this is the case, then why is fluid intelligence so important?
Fluid Intelligence is closely related to professional and educational success. Studies show that recruitment managers tend to test fluid intelligence levels for different roles in a business than just acquired knowledge to see the level of potential in candidates. It helps you answer logical questions like which number will come next in the series 2,3,5, 8, …? The answer to such questions cannot be learnt but fluid intelligence enables children to arrive at a solution.
Fluid intelligence is trainable to a significant degree. Here are 4 easy steps to sharpen your child’s fluid intelligence:
When being creative, children are not expected to come up with original ideas all the time. Creativity exercises the cognitive skills in children, which in turn helps train their fluid intelligence. A simple example would be to ask children to paint without using paintbrushes. Children can use their fingers to finger paint or vegetable chopping to create various prints.
Challenge your kids
The brain needs to keep making new connections to stay stimulated. Playing video games, cultivating a new hobby, solving puzzles are all ways of stimulating the brain. As a brain exercise for children, you can try taking a different route to school or to the park and check if your kid remembers the way and can help you navigate without a GPS.
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Do things the hard way
We all learn with practice as we go along, be it tying laces or getting our spellings right with regular reading & writing. Sometimes, we are spoilt for choice with easy access to machines and devices. Next time, put off the autocorrect on your devices. If a spelling is incorrect, let children figure out the right spelling. Another could be to encourage children to memorize the birth-dates of loved ones instead of depending on reminders on the phone.
When children socialize with other kids, they are exposed to new ideas, environments, and opportunities. It forces them to remember names, birthdays, what they said last week about the party at home, or why they don’t own a pet. When children mingle, they see life from a new perspective. This results in fresh learning and new neural connections.
Intelligence cannot be obtained overnight and doesn’t come from sticking to the same old routines. Both fluid and crystallized intelligence are very important. Fluid intelligence is directly related to being creative and innovative i.e., being street smart while crystallized intelligence, relies on being book smart. You need to develop your fluid intelligence to enable your crystal intelligence to work well!
‘Book smart people … create the world. Street smart people… are the ones who survive in them!’
~ R.S. Peterson