There are many intricate details to the mechanisms used by people of all ages to think and apply their understandings to new and changing circumstances. That said, the most glaring difference between the intellectual capabilities of an adult compared to that of a child is that an adult has an incredibly broad set of experiences to draw from, which make future operations much easier since much of the trial-and-error has already been accomplished in previously similar instances. Also, it’s important to highlight the differences in creativity between adults and children; that is, the way in which they apply their creativity. Children are shown to have a broader and more diverse approach to creative thinking than adults, who tend to narrow down the uses for certain objects, or pursue one form of thinking rather rigidly, allowing for very little “outside-the-box” thinking. Lastly, because children do not have the same grasp and understanding of language that adults do, their methodology for solving problems tends to involve a more hands-on approach, with considerably more trial-and-error.
Differences in fluid and crystalline intelligence between different age groups have been the reason that many intelligence tests have evolved to include more visual imagery and non-verbal puzzles in their assessment of one’s intelligence. With that, recent developments in early childhood education point to the existence of multiple learning types, a few of which help children build confidence through trial-and-error repetition, allowing them to develop at their own pace, as well as build unique methods of solving problems.
In adults, years of experience, coupled with age make more a less plastic intelligence as people get older. The mind is able to recall previous actions and events easily and put them to use, but the uptake of new actions and skills becomes diminished as age increases, making it harder to learn new things like languages, mathematical concepts, and mental/physical skills. As things change in our environment, from technological solutions becoming more ubiquitous, e-readers replacing paper books, and physical interactions being replaced by screens and operating systems, older methods of understanding quickly lose their utility in gaining an edge in an evolving mental landscape. This doesn’t mean that crystalline intelligence is a bad thing; it becomes the bank of understandings we use to make our way through life without needing to apply the scientific method to every new interaction we have. Instead, we can count on firmly developed pathways to deliver information pertinent to the situation at hand. This is why we all practice things to become good at them, because it reinforces the skill being learned and makes us more likely to remember and recall them in the future.
On the other hand, children have to approach the task of solving a problem a little differently. For children under the age of twelve, the wealth of experiences they have to fall back on in new or uncertain situations is fairly small, which means that a lot of learning is done in the moment. This has the potential to be of benefit or harm depending on the circumstances in which the learning occurs. In an environment where children are free to explore new concepts in their own time and at their own pace, there is less stress related to being the first to solve a problem, and emphasis is placed instead on one’s ability to solve a problem in a procedural manner. Over time, children learn what to look for in certain situations, and thus begin to grow more confident in their ability to solve most problems they encounter. This translates from the classroom to most corners of life, where naturally guided inquisitiveness tends to form the foundation of one’s passions in the future, helping them discover what their true passions might be. However, in a rigid setting where there are predefined pathways to success, some children are not allowed the time to grow and become confident in their ability to problem-solve, especially with external pressures related to remaining competitive in the classroom, and earning honors. Placing the focus of education and intelligence on a child from an external perspective, as opposed to an internal one can sometimes prove too inflexible for some to flourish in.
Given the recent rise of online learning studios, reading and language-learning platforms, as well as online tutoring, educational resources are available at a moment’s notice to anyone willing to learn a new skill. Also, it has lowered the barrier to entry for many people, since internet access is mostly all that is needed to participate in most programs, meaning that it’s far more affordable than spending hundreds of dollars on books and equipment. Lastly, like all skills, it takes practice to become proficient at things, which is why it is encouraged to have children take multiple tests in order to build their confidence and allow them to apply their knowledge to problems in various ways. Our testing platform was designed to allow children to grow at their own pace and evolve their skills on their own time. It’s easy to use interface makes it intuitive for both children and parents to navigate and understand their unique developmental path.