Medicine & USMLE

Crystallized 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


Crystallized Intelligence is a factor within General Intelligence, and refers to the ability to use skills, prior knowledge, and experience. Crystallized intelligence improves with age, as older people have more experiences to expand one’s knowledge.

Key Points

  • Crystallized Intelligence
    • Subcategory of General Intelligence
    • Ability to think and solve problems by applying prior knowledge, experiences, and skills
      • Deals with the ability to process and analyze long-term memory
    • Increases with age as one gets older
      • Experiences and knowledge tend to increase with age


Think of your professors in school or an attending physician in the hospital. She’s got way more knowledge and experience than her students, because she has seen more in her career. The accumulation of knowledge and experience is what makes a person a master in their craft, a classic example of crystallized intelligence.