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What is Fluid Intelligence and What are the Ways to Improve It?

Sonu S Apr 17, 2019
Curious about what people refer to, when they use the term fluid intelligence? It might be a new term, but man has been using it since time immemorial. Let's learn about this in depth.
Charles Spearman was the first person to dichotomize intelligence, but the credit of introducing the term fluid intelligence goes to Raymond Cattell.
When Raymond Cattell divided intelligence into fluid and crystallized intelligence, he may not have realized that he had given a name to a major aspect that distinguishes between human intelligence and machine intelligence.
Yes, it is fluid intelligence that makes man superior to any machine ever made! It might sound like an exaggeration, but the fact is, if man did not possess fluid intelligence, he would never have progressed in life.

Fluid Intelligence

Fluid intelligence is not molded by general perceptions and learning, it is not developed through traditional learning, and experience does not have an influence on fluid intelligence. What is fluid intelligence then? Before arriving at a conclusion, let us consider an example.
Now, what is the fifth number in the series? If your answer is 800, you are absolutely right! It was not so difficult to get the right answer, you just needed to observe the previous numbers in the series, and identify a pattern.
The pattern indicates that, the product of the first 2 digits of the preceding number forms the last 2 digits of a number in the series, and the product of the last 2 digits of the preceding number forms the first 2 digits of a number.


First number in the series = 7749
First 2 digits of the second number = 4x9 = 36
Last two digits of the second number = 7x7 = 49
Therefore, the second number is 3649.
Fourth number in the series = 0818
First 2 digits of the fifth number = 1x8 = 08
Last two digits of the fifth number = 0x8 = 00
Therefore, the fifth number is 0800 i.e., 800.
You might not have encountered an example similar to this before, and because of this, you could not apply your crystallized intelligence (which includes all that you have learned till now) here. You had to think out of the box, and you applied your fluid intelligence, and finally you arrived at the answer.
Fluid intelligence basically refers to the ability of analyzing a new problem and arriving at a solution to that problem without a reference to previously accumulated knowledge. It involves logical thinking and
  • Observing the problem
  • Identifying and interpreting patterns
  • Understanding the relationships between the patterns
  • Arriving at a logical conclusion
Fluid intelligence is not restricted to your sphere of knowledge, it is not confined to any particular domain, it is free of any dogma or standards, may be that is why it is called fluid, as it has the ability to flow freely from the captivity of your beliefs.
Fluid intelligence accommodates your observations, and gives you an outcome that you haven't experienced yet in your life. It is purely based on your ability to analyze situations.
Man acquires knowledge and uses it to tackle any situation that he faces in life, in the same way, a machine uses the information fed to it, to perform tasks. A novel situation might paralyze a machine completely as it will not have the information to tackle the crisis, but new challenges are just new opportunities for man to become better in life.
His fluid intelligence will help him find solutions to these new problems, thereby enlightening him. This makes man superior to machines, and helps him prosper in life. Fluid intelligence has resulted in innumerable scientific discoveries, but it is not restricted to science or mathematics, you can apply this to every new situation that you encounter.
One thing that you should realize is, for any given problem, you apply your fluid intelligence just once, when you encounter the same problem again, you apply your crystallized intelligence!