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MathGirl
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 6:41 pm    Post subject: Why does IQ drop with age? Reply with quote

I have learned today that on average, IQ drops with age. Needless to say, I was surprised. I've always thought that IQ would increase with age, given that over the course of our lives, we are constantly acquiring new skills and absorbing new information to work with. Given that constant engagement of the brain causes IQ to increase, I was convinced that someone in their 20s would have a higher IQ compared to when they were preteens. I assumed that this age was meant because the instructor who mentioned this was addressing a group of students around the ages of 18-20 y.o., saying that if we were to get re-tested at this point, it would be not uncommon for our IQs to be several points lower.

So why would this be the case? Would it be due to the diet? Due to the toxic environment that we live in?
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Prksrbrt
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it's because when you're a preteen, it's School, Homework, Play, Sleep. When you're 18-20 it's School, Work, Homework, Friends, GF/BF, etc... Because your mind isn't mainly focused on school you are indeed causing more brain activity but less of that is in academics.
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Willard
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't believe there's any truth to that. The very notion doesn't even make sense. It would be one thing if they were referring to senile dementia or something, but IQ drops between 12 and 17? That's preposterous.
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MathGirl
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Willard wrote:
I don't believe there's any truth to that. The very notion doesn't even make sense. It would be one thing if they were referring to senile dementia or something, but IQ drops between 12 and 17? That's preposterous.
Maybe between 8 or 9 and 20. Not exactly preteen, but a little bit younger. Age at which somebody could be tested accurately on an IQ test.
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DenvrDave
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

George Carlin said it was because everytime you go to the bathroom, you sh*t out a couple of brain cells. So by the time you're 50, half your brain is gone, and by the time you're 70, well...

I couldn't find the YouTube clip of him saying this, so if anyone knows where it is please point it out. MathGirl I know this was a serious question, but I couldn't help myself Smile
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LostInSpace
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My verbal IQ actually went up 20 points between age 3 and age 15- but preschool testing is not always very reliable. My performance IQ stayed the same.
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tweety_fan
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The last time I got my IQ tested was when i was 14.

It was below average according to the test. The dr said that it was an out of date test and that I was smarter then what the test showed.
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MechAnime
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This article might help.

I'm 43, and I never knew my IQ, but I felt considerably smarter previous to my 30's, and I've heard a lot of other adults of similar age say the same thing. Part of that feeling might come from the fact that at some point when approaching mid-adulthood (some sooner than others) you realize that you don't know as much as you previously thought, in other words there's the "the more you know, the less you know" dilemma, which can be a kind of enlightening bummer. But I believe I digress somewhat...

Personally, I think stress (lack of money, i.e., "living from paycheck to paycheck" or a lack of job fulfillment, kids) + declining energy can play a large role , or if you have chronic pain, it can really hinder your thought processes because you just have less energy period and feel worn down. Aging comes with less energy by itself, for some more than others. Hopefully factors such as chronic physical pain (especially in the head) are taken into consideration or they are excluded in control groups because these things do get in one's way in more ways than one.

Interesting tidbits for me:

Quote:
In the first experiment, the college students performed 34% faster than the adults, making it clear that motor speed can be a major contributor to the age difference in general level of performance, reported the researchers.


Speed is a major component in acquiring a high IQ. Then:

Quote:
"The poorer performance by older adults may be characterized by a loss of efficiency in visual search," stated the researcher.


Quote:
"The simulation of the age-related sensory deficit markedly reduced the number of items that could be completed in the coding task. This finding offers direct support for the hypothesis that sensory deficits influence coding task performances," stated the researchers.


This makes total sense to me. In the past few years, far sightedness has creeped up on me. I've always been myopic due to astigmatism, and wear glasses, which corrected it without issues (other than the fact that I hate wearing glasses). While there is bifocals (which I can't afford yet), I've heard a lot of people say they can't stand bifocal lenses and will switch between reading glasses and their near-sighted prescriptions depending on what they are looking at, which is what I do now. Print is the worst thing to try and see, even with the reading glasses. It's dizzying because you have to be at just the right distance, if there is any "just right". I find computer screens especially hard on my eyes now. I strain whenever I post and there's no perfect set up yet, just "close as I can get".

Before a person's eyes becomes far-sighted (as most will with age), there's a stage where you notice difficulty shifting focus, the term for which I can't recall, but it's different from plain far-sightedness. It can mark the moment when you think to yourself "okay, so now it starts. I'm turning into my Dad who's arms were never long enough!"

All this (plus my headaches) really interferes with reading, learning, recalling, concentrating and paying attention . It's frustrating, but I suppose the visual deficiencies is sth one gets used to some degree, or I hope. I think in my case, the astigmatism (in both eyes) complicates everything. Plus I'm blue eyed, which is the color more prone to deterioration and blindness.

Quote:
The testing of this method offers researchers a new way to test for visual information processing deficits and leads to the understanding that visual spatial deficits can impact memory, said the researchers. The Case Perception Lab has conducted research over the past 25 years on spatial and contrast perceptions. Research from the lab has found a number of links between perception problems and the ability to function normally from reading, writing and moving around the environment.

One of their major findings is that people with dementia can better and more safely navigate their environments when there is a higher contrast between furniture, floors and walls. Adults with dementia also increase the amount of food eaten when the tableware is in high contrast to the table (example a white plate on a dark wood table).


I read another study that claimed the height or prime of a person's brain productivity happens right around 30. But that was a year ago and I don't have the source.
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Janissy
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MechAnime wrote:
[
Quote:
In the first experiment, the college students performed 34% faster than the adults, making it clear that motor speed can be a major contributor to the age difference in general level of performance, reported the researchers.


Speed is a major component in acquiring a high IQ. Then:

Quote:
"The poorer performance by older adults may be characterized by a loss of efficiency in visual search," stated the researcher.


Quote:
"The simulation of the age-related sensory deficit markedly reduced the number of items that could be completed in the coding task. This finding offers direct support for the hypothesis that sensory deficits influence coding task performances," stated the researchers.

).



These are all good explanations for a drop in IQ test score. I also consider it yet more evidence that there is but a faint correlation between IQ test score and intelligence. If a person's score can drop even as they acquire skills, a broader knowledge base and wisdom, then what is the point of saying that IQ tests measure intelligence? Is a person actually less smart because their eyes and fingers don't work as well as they used to? If the test says that yes, they are less smart because of that, then I think there's something wrong with the test.
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Chronos
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Why does IQ drop with age? Reply with quote

Evolution is more concerned with efficiency than intelligence.

As children, our brown goes through many periods of rapid growth, which can be thought of as growth storms, where new connections are made very quickly. This process underlies speech development in NT children.

It is also why children pick things up so quickly.

The last of these processes occurs when we are teenagers. As we enter into the final stages of neurological development though, in our late teens, the brain starts to prune connections which our body has decided aren't really that important. After this pruning, and some further developing, our brain has completed it's growth.

We retain out ability to learn, explicitly, but our implicit ability to learn is greatly reduced. As we continue to age, the connections we use the most frequently remain, as other, weaker ones break down. We also begin to lose neurons, and some people experience plague build ups which can result in alzheimer's.

So basically, it's a combination of lack of growth storms, a strive for efficiency, and damaging aging mechanisms that ultimately decreases our intellectual ability.
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Horus
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I obtained a full scale IQ of 120 when I was in ninth grade. My guidance counselor didn't tell me anything about my verbal or performance scores.


Then my full scale IQ score was 94 when I was 23. My verbal score was 104 and my performance was 82. Then my full-scale score was 112 when I was tested at 28. My verbal score went up 21 points (to 125) and my performance went up 12 points (to 94.) My results were simliar to this one on the next two IQ tests I took. Then I took one four years ago and my full scale score on that one was 143. My verbal score was 155 and my performance was 111.

I just took another IQ test two weeks ago and my full scale score was 104. My verbal comprehension index score was 136 and my perceptual reasoning index score was 79.


In other words....my IQ score was in the superior range in ninth grade, in the low average range at 23 and I scored anywhere from high average to very superior on the next four. Now i'm down to the average range on my latest one. Generally speaking, there has been a significant pattern of INCREASE in my verbal IQ AND performance IQ since I took that test at 23. My performance score was the lowest i've ever obtained on this most recent test though. One thing has remained constant....there is always a substantial discrepancy between my VIQ and PIQ in favor of VIQ.
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MtnMojo
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let's say you got tested at 10. And everything stayed the same for the next five years in your brain. Maybe you learned a few new ways of doing math or you learned a few new things about the world but overall your brain didn't really change. So, you get tested again at 15. According to the test, your IQ will have dropped. The test results compare you to people your age, so if nothing in your brain really changed from the previous test, it will look like you are less intelligent. However, let's look at the reverse. You got tested at 10, you learned some skills that helped you take tests or process information differently and you then get tested again at 15. Your IQ may have gone up because of some of the adaptive skills you have learned during the past five years. As an adult, it becomes even trickier...again you are compared to people of your own age, but your life skills may have your brain using certain parts more than other parts...so scores become more splintered. Or maybe you just woke up on the wrong side of the bed. A lot of testers state in the results that the results can be interpreted carefully because of the person's mental state, the testing conditions, etc. To me, IQ testing just gives a ballpark picture of how a person processes information at that particular point in time. It's only one slice of the pie.

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jc6chan
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I doubt IQ drops with age. My dad knows about physics he learned in high school but I'm not sure how much he used it in real life. I guess he did take physics courses in university too.
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CockneyRebel
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Because people use their brains less and less, as they get older. You're using your brain all the time, when you're in school, with all the learning, studying and activities, that you're involved in. When a person gets older, all they do is work, come home, watch TV or listen to music, and than they go to bed. The more you use your brain, the longer you keep your marbles.
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another_1
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many good responses. One I haven't seen mentioned, that I remember my psych instructor mentioning, is to remember that the older one is, the more time others have had to catch up. For example, when I was in school, I read copiously. Therefore, I knew a lot of details about a lot of different subjects. At 14, my knowledge of,say, history, was quite advanced for my age, but a fair amount of that knowledge is eventually absorbed from repeated mentions of important commemorations (Pearl Harbor, London Blitz, first man in space, etc.), so by the time someone is, say, 30, the AVERAGE knowledge base is higher.

I realize that an IQ test is supposed to test one's ability to learn, not specific knowledge. Still, the more you know, well, the better you're likely to do.
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