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  • Einstein once said "A person who has not made his great contribution to science before the

  • age of thirty will never do so."

  • Einstein published four groundbreaking papers in 1905 when he was 26 and we describe him

  • as a genius - someone with exceptional intellectual ability.

  • So is there a point where we hit our intellectual peak? When we will be the smartest well

  • ever be in our lives?

  • Defining human intelligence is complex - I’ve mentioned previously that it includes your

  • capacity for reasoning, planning, problem-solving, abstract thought, self-awareness, communication,

  • creativity and learning. To name a few.

  • One theory is that intelligence can be broken down into two types: crystallized and fluid

  • intelligence.

  • Fluid intelligence is the capacity to think logically and solve problems, independent

  • of acquired knowledge. Like how quickly you can solve this puzzle. Crystallized intelligence

  • is the ability to use the knowledge youve built up from what youve learnt. Like knowing

  • the elements of the periodic table or names of the spells in Harry Potter.

  • Placing a peak age on our cognitive skills is tricky, and depends on how we measure intelligence.

  • If we can measure it accurately at all.

  • Tests of fluid intelligence show it peaks in young adulthood and slowly, gradually declines.

  • Crystallized intelligence remains much more stable and has been shown to decline as late

  • as our 70s. Is there a magical point where they meet?

  • In a 35-year-long study tests of general mental abilities showed that on average, your abilities

  • increase until your late 30s or early 40s. Mental abilities are stable until your mid

  • 50s or early 60s. From your late 60s, thing start to decline.

  • The proportion of physicists who did their prize-winning work by age 30 peaked in 1923

  • at 31%. By the year 2000, this dropped to 0%. And prize winning work by age 40 occured

  • in only 19% of cases by the year 2000.

  • There’s no clear or easy way to tell when were at our brightest. And there are lots

  • of different opinions. So I asked you, to see if we could all piece together our thoughts.

  • In fields like math and physics, people tend to be the most creative and make the largest

  • impacts when they're very young, like early twenties. But I'm not sure that having revolutionary,

  • creative ideas is necessarily the same thing as being the smartest.

  • Like at your physical peak is also kind of when your brain is at it's peak.

  • I feel like you're the smartest you'll ever be, as judged by IQ tests, around the age

  • of 25.

  • Let's throw a number out there, I'll say 65. There we go. It's like old enough to remember

  • all the things that I've learned over the course of my life but just on the edge of

  • when I'll probably start forgetting them.

  • Well I mean smartness is a complicated thing, but a lot of it has to do with experience,

  • right? And if you're constantly living a life where you're having new experiences, which

  • I think by definition you are people always have to be, then you are always smarter in

  • the current moment than you previously were.

  • I think I know a lot more now, and not just facts, but how things work, how the world

  • works.

  • Because you can be very, very smart at any age.

  • And MindSponge wrote that maybe peak intelligence is dependent on the person

  • Williem van de Beek wrote that while famous scientists published their biggest discoveries

  • in their 20s, he feels smarter now in his 30s. Jack Freeman and Erik wrote that our

  • peak would be around 30, Just Having Fun wrote that the peak is in the late 40s, where people

  • have a wealth of experience and are still in good health.

  • And yadda, yadda yadda.

  • If you haven’t already, let me know your thoughts in the comments and subscribe to

  • BrainCraft, for a new brainy video every week.

Einstein once said "A person who has not made his great contribution to science before the

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When Do We Reach Our Mental Peak?

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    Eating posted on 2015/02/09
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