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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Chapter 8 - Complementary Contributions of Fluid and Crystallized Intelligence to Decision Making Across the Life Span

  • Author(s): Zaval, L
  • Li, Y
  • Johnson, EJ
  • Weber, EU
  • et al.

© 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. This chapter explores the interplay between fluid intelligence declines and higher levels of crystallized intelligence of older adults as they affect everyday decision-making ability. Specifically, we explore the hypothesis that accumulated knowledge and expertise may help compensate for age-related declines in fluid cognitive function. The complementary capabilities framework suggests that although age-related declines are inevitable, these declines may be at least partially attenuated on tasks and in domains that are more familiar and practiced. Crystallized intelligence may thereby represent a kind of intellectual capital that circumvents reduced capabilities caused by diminished levels of fluid intelligence. We explore the role of domain-specific knowledge and expertise in context-specific tasks and everyday problem solving, and discuss the practical implications of this research for public policy and for the design of effective decision interventions that can aid decision making among older adults.

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