Medicine & USMLE

Fluid Intelligence

  1. Theory of General Intelligence
  2. Fluid Intelligence
  3. Crystallized Intelligence
  4. Theory of Multiple Intelligences
  5. Triarchical Intelligence Theory
  6. Primary Mental Abilities


Fluid Intelligence is a factor of General Intelligence, and refers to the ability to reason and solve novel problems by thinking adaptively on one’s feet, independent of any prior knowledge. It decreases with age.

Key Points

  • Fluid Intelligence
    • Subcategory of General Intelligence
    • Ability to think logically and solve problems without prior knowledge/experience
      • e.g. “Game-time” thinking
    • Decreases with age as one gets older
      • Peaks in young adulthood


Younger people are faster and better at picking up new skills, like texting or using social media. Think about how your parents and grandparents are slower to adopt new technology. This happens since the adaptation and learning of new skills in an entirely new setting is dependent on fluid intelligence.