Wisdom vs. Intelligence
Although people value intelligence—understanding, reasoning, the ability to learn—they also respect wisdom, or the knowledge and experience that we accumulate over a lifetime. Cognitive scientists call the former “fluid intelligence,” which does reduce somewhat during adulthood, and the latter “crystallized intelligence,” which generally improves with age. In some ways, wisdom is like beauty: we value it, we desire it, we know it when we see it, but it is nearly impossible to pin down such an ethereal quality. But researchers have tried—and here’s what they’ve found.