At what point in your life do different mental powers peak? Some of the earliest intelligence tests simply categorized all people over the age of 16 as “adults.” Today, researchers recognize that the brain continues to develop and change throughout early adulthood and that there are significant changes in how the brain functions as people age.
Still, we often tend to think of the adult brain as a relatively stable and unchanging thing, suggesting that various mental abilities are simply static, or even on the decline, throughout most of adulthood.
Conventional ideas about intelligence often suggest that people hit their mental peak fairly early in life, and then follow a long, slow decline into old-age.
There is also a tendency to believe that certain mental abilities, such as fluid intelligence, typically peak relatively early in adulthood. Crystallized intelligence, on the other hand, is often suggested to peak during late adulthood.
According to some experts, this long-held dichotomy might be far too simplistic. Researchers Joshua Hartshorne and Laura Germine utilized a large pool of online participants to gather information about exactly what ages certain mental abilities are the strongest. What they discovered was that there was a surprising consistency to when particular abilities typically peak.