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Can Basic Intelligence be Improved Once You Reach Adulthood?

Whaddya think? Yes, no, maybe?

By basic intelligence I don’t mean knowledge, wisdom and the acquisition of specific skills, I mean basic logical ability & creative potential etc

from what I understand and have read is that our ability to improve our cognitive functions can improve over a lifetime - barring any cognitive deficiencies / diseases.

I admit this website comes across a bit like a tabloid to me but I’ve read similar things from neuroscience publications as well.

Here’s another one from Scientific American:


Adults may not learn at the same rate or with the same ease as kids do, but I think there is ample evidence to suggest adults can improve our measurable intelligence as we get older.

Keep in mind, this is predicated on our understanding of intelligence and how it’s measured, which can be seen as biased.

There are theories that there are multiple types of intelligence:

which can help contribute to this conversation.

Probably not but you can accomplish a lot and be very happy without requiring above average intelligence.

Also, I read that every IQ point of above average reduces your likelihood of getting laid by 3% during teen years and early 20s.

Well damnit, I’ve identified my problem.

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They say that iq is mostly genetic. One can certainly get better at iq tests though. Someone who had an iq of say 120 could score 130 with test practice.

IIRC, some of iq can be nurture. It just seems a much larger factor is nature (genetics). There was a study that looked at children who were biologic and fostered, and looked at the genetic parents iq and the foster parent iq. If the biologic parents iq was high, their biologic children would score higher than their foster children if there foster parents had lower iq. They did this both ways, and determined genetics was a significantly larger factor than nurture, but nurture was a factor.

IMO, hard work is more important as long as the person is reasonably intelligent. High iq will make school easier. Work is a different story.

I’m someone with ADHD (was diagnosed as a child, I’m not just one of those people who claim ADHD), and relied on intelligence for school. I made it through because I could grasp concepts quickly. I did well on tests, and poor on projects. Guess which is more important for work typically? I struggle to do routine tasks that others find easy.

I guess high iq does give one an advantage getting the job as being quick on the ball in an interview is important, and some employers are starting to use tests that resemble iq tests as a filter.

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Is this linear or quadratic?

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It’s all so clear now…

There is no such thing as “basic intelligence.” Instead, there are many discrete intellectual faculties called aptitudes; this is why people are naturally good and bad at different things. Aptitudes are hereditary and stable by the mid-teens. Instead of trying to increase your intelligence, you should try to find your niche—the career and overall lifestyle that best exploits your natural abilities and avoids things you’re poorly suited for.

I recommend the Johnson O’Connor aptitude test (https://www.jocrf.org/). Best $700 I ever spent.

Is that because you’re too smart to throw yourself on the grenade?

I agree, ‘basic intelligence’ maybe isn’t the best way of putting it.

700 dollars on an aptitude test though? Isn’t that a lil overboard? Their are hundreds of totally free tests online that can give you a very solid sense of your aptitudes.

Is there a formula linking this to muscle mass reverting the effects?

Thread hijack: have you seen:


Yes but only if you intend to have sex with other men.

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I used to work as a designer. Creativity can be taught and coaxed. It’s, in-part at least, a skill and not (only) a matter of raw potential. But I don’t know if logical reasoning can be taught if it hasn’t already been developed by adulthood. Not that I have any evidence to the contrary. Subjectively, I just imagine it’s not conceivable.

It’s hard to tell what intelligence is. It’s not only problem-solving. A bacterium can seek out a certain pH-value, and in doing so would be behaving in a goal-oriented and problem-solving manner. Arguably, it can not think, but rather is in essence a machine that acts with purpose.

Comparatively, a crab has a natural disposition to hide under rocks (goal-oriented + problem-solving) but if repeatedly shocked when they hide under the rocks they eventually stop hiding under rocks. Meanwhile a bacteria, by itself, will never learn to associate a stimulus with a condition.

Is the crab capable of thought? Does it have “intelligence”?

And, is there any significant difference other than the sheer volume of contexts a human can “memorize” inputs (actions, circumstances) and outcomes (good, bad, neutral) when compared to the crab?

In that case one should focus on mind-blowing calves


I haven’t seen it. Was pretty informative (the part about knowledge and performance being separated really hit home). Do you have ADHD?

I used to be on meds for ADHD, but my mom took me off of them as she was scared about it stunting my growth. I think I probably do need to get it treated as I really struggle with completing tasks. Lot’s of stigma around ADHD and the meds. I feel most don’t understand the level of distraction that someone with ADHD goes through.

Maybe, I’m going to be tested for it.

There are a lot of things that match, but a few key ones that do not. For instance, the temporal thing does not describe me as I can plan and live in the future even to a detrimental level. But I certainly have a lot of executive dysfunctions and attention issues.

It didn’t show itself in my youth at any rate because I was pretty adept at working around any problems that I had at that time, but have had a harder time doing so when dealing with office-hours.

  • Could never sit through a lecture to save my life (usually I left after 30 minutes)
  • Would have to wait for everyone else to fall asleep when I lived back at home before starting to be productive
  • Has to sit at the front of a classroom to not be distracted by all the laptops
  • Has to sit in certain places in restaurants to be able to focus on my company
  • Impulsive
  • Messy

Walking around with my phone in one hand, one sock on, a belt that’s not looped all the way through, while brushing my teeth, is not at all that uncommon…

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Me to. The detrimental level is worth emphasizing.

I figured out that I was better off just showing up for the tests and to turn in homework after a bit. I just couldn’t get more than a few minutes of valuable information before I entered my own thoughts.

I am more productive at night, and feel much more awake at night. Don’t know if this has to do with ADHD.

All of these things apply to me. Sitting in front did not guarantee anything for me though. I gave me a slim chance of paying attention.

I was diagnosed, but it was as a child. I will have to go though the testing and other hoop jumping if I want medication. I talked to my regular doctor about it, and IMO got treated like a junkie by him. Probably won’t go back to him. He just kinda said that if I made it though engineering school I should be good. Well I found that stuff interesting, so it was a bit easier. I also skipped many classes to do the homework and understand the topics.

That’s interesting. I won’t let that attribute stand in the way of me exploring it further then.

Honestly, I have no idea how I got through school. I just did. I didn’t have to expend a lot of effort to do it. I had a knack for logic, and I can lie through my teeth very convincingly. I never read any assigned reading, I just… found workaround that took less effort. Melding summaries together and what not.

I have no idea, this is speculation on my part.

Yeah, same.

Best of luck. I didn’t finish engineering school (I got a job during my third year or so) but I did make it “far” and was reading an “advanced” degree but with a lot of emphasis on craftsmanship (programming). If I’d gone for physics I think I would’ve flunked out.

I used to finish the assignments, and then help my classmates to them, and as I rehashed shit over and over again that’s how I learned.

The last part is how I made it though IMO. Sure I would get distracted, but I think if I were to add up how much actual time I was doing homework, it was not very much. If I was focused it would have only been 5-10 hours a week depending on the week. I can learn really fast if I am focused, and I am interested in the topic (the last part is necessary for the first).

I read a few things in college. Had to be interested though. Otherwise it was spark notes. I can read different stuff all day long on the internet if I am interested.

Mechanical Engineering is what I did. It is one of the engineering fields that is fairly close to a Physics degree (compared to Computer Science, EE, etc…). I found the topics interesting, so I could focus a bit.