Crystallized Intelligence: Examples & Definition

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  • 0:03 What is Intelligence?
  • 0:38 Raymond Cattell and…
  • 1:31 Everyday Examples
  • 2:41 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Chris Clause
What is intelligence? In this lesson, you'll learn about crystallized intelligence and how it is used in every day life. Following the lesson, you can test your knowledge by taking a short quiz.

What is Intelligence?

How would you define intelligence? Is it getting all As on your report card? Is it being able to talk your way into a good deal on a new car? Maybe it has to do with being creative and solving problems? Well, actually, intelligence is comprised of all of those aspects, and more.

As psychologists have worked to better understand intelligence, many distinct types of intelligence have emerged. We now know that intelligence is not one thing, but a conglomeration of constructs that together paint a picture of a person's overall cognitive abilities.

Raymond Cattell and the Two Types of Intelligence

Psychologist Raymond Cattell is credited with first describing intelligence as being comprised of multiple constructs. He popularized the idea that intelligence can be divided into two types, namely fluid and crystallized.

Fluid intelligence is the ability to quickly adapt to and solve problems, even in an unfamiliar situation. This more or less describes the concept of 'street smarts.'

On the other hand, crystallized intelligence is what Cattell referred to as the ability to make use of acquired information or knowledge. People who possess high levels of crystallized intelligence are people who are commonly referred to as having 'book smarts.' Crystallized intelligence is generally long-lasting and commonly improves with experience. Examples of crystallized intelligence would be things such as knowledge of facts and possessing a foundation of knowledge on a specific topic.

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