Does IQ increase with age? (3 insights)

This blog post aims to answer the question, “Does IQ increase with age?” and explore what IQ is, its application, importance and its various forms and features to help understand if IQ can increase with age. 

Does IQ increase with age?

Yes, IQ could increase with age. The following are 3 insights into how IQ could increase with age – 

  • Improving their ability to operate.
  • The most volatile period for IQ levels is childhood, especially adolescence.
  • Life events and school-related experiences alter both the brain and IQ.

These 3 insights into how IQ could increase with age will be discussed in further detail below after taking a deeper look at what IQ means. 

What is IQ?

The intelligence quotient, or IQ, is a measurement of a person’s capacity to think. In a nutshell, it’s designed to see how effectively someone can utilise reasoning and knowledge to answer questions and make predictions. 

Short- and long-term memory is measured in IQ tests to begin assessing this. They also assess how effectively and rapidly people can solve puzzles and retain the information they’ve heard.

No matter how bright a student is, he or she can learn. However, some individuals suffer in school due to a deficiency in one area of intellect. Special education programmes are typically beneficial to these children. 

They receive additional assistance in areas where they are having difficulty. IQ testing can assist teachers in determining which pupils would benefit from further assistance.

Chess is a strategy and skill game. Intelligence helps, but so does genuine interest and the perseverance to gradually develop abilities in it.

Students who would benefit from fast-paced “gifted education” programmes can be identified using IQ tests. Many colleges and universities choose students using examinations that are comparable to IQ testing. 

IQ tests are also used by the US government, especially the military when deciding who to hire. These assessments might assist you to figure out who would make good leaders or who would excel at certain abilities.

It’s easy to extrapolate a lot from someone’s IQ number. The majority of non-experts believe that intellect is the reason for successful people’s achievements. This is only partially accurate, according to psychologists who research intelligence. 

IQ tests can indicate how well someone would do in specific contexts, such as abstract thinking in science, engineering, or art. Alternatively, you may be in charge of a group of individuals. 

There’s more to the story, though. Many factors influence extraordinary accomplishment. Ambition, perseverance, opportunity, the capacity to think clearly, and even luck are among the additional categories.

What are these 3 insights into how IQ could increase with age?

Improving their ability to operate.

Whether IQ increases with age is contingent on a variety of variables. When you look at studies where individuals have been made smarter (i.e. their IQs have increased), what they’re actually doing is improving their ability to operate.

Understanding variations in IQ also necessitates a thorough examination of how intelligence is assessed. Many people mix up talent with knowledge. 

The best method to assess intelligence is to assess the abilities that underpin knowledge acquisition in isolation from the knowledge we already possess.

Your IQ can alter over time, according to Richard Nisbett, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan. However, [IQ] tests consistently give you the same response, even over the course of a year. Your exam score will be more steady as you become older.

The most volatile period for IQ levels is childhood, especially adolescence.

People’s average IQ fluctuates over time. In the current industrialised society, people are essentially benefiting. 

IQ levels are rising at a rate of three points every decade. Between 1947 and 2002, there was an 18-point gain. As a result, a 20-year-average old’s IQ in 1947 was lower than a 20-year-average old’s IQ in 2002.

According to Stephen Ceci, a Cornell University professor of developmental psychology, IQ does rise with age, and there is plenty of research to back this up. Price and her colleagues published a paper in the journal Nature in November. 

It included 33 teenagers aged 12 to 16 years old at the start of the trial. Price and her colleagues tested their IQs, followed them for four years, and then tested them again.

The IQ swings were astronomical. It’s not a matter of a few points, but of 20 or more IQ points, one way or another. These improvements in IQ scores were not coincidental; they matched anatomical and functional brain imaging quite well. 

Assume the adolescent’s verbal IQ increased throughout that period, and just the verbal parts of the brain altered. There is a slew of additional research that suggests IQ may fluctuate. Many IQ variations may be traced back to changes in schooling. 

Life events and school-related experiences alter both the brain and IQ.

One method schools boost IQ is by teaching students how to “taxonomize,” or organise things systematically rather than conceptually. On many IQ exams, this type of thinking is rewarded.

A lot of studies have also shown that the brain alters as a result of various types of regimens. Brain scans of London taxi drivers before and after they start driving and learning to navigate London’s maze of streets reveal changes in the brain as they utilise greater navigational abilities. 

Even young individuals who attend a juggling class see alterations in their brains. When all of the information is considered, it is clear that life events and school-related experiences alter both the brain and IQ. This is true for both children and adults.

However, there is a lot of disagreement over how IQ and intelligence evolve as people become older. According to studies, a person’s fluid intelligence begins to decline in their late twenties, whereas their crystallised intellect increases as they become older.

Individual cognitive circumstances influence IQ, hence it is impossible to say that IQ rises with age for the whole population. However, crystallised intelligence (a type of intelligence that has been shown to impact IQ performance) has been shown to increase with age. 

Crystallized intelligence is defined as the capacity to solve an issue using the information gained through experience.As a person gets older, his or her physical ability deteriorates, which can contribute to poor performance on IQ exams. Excessive drug and alcohol use, as well as degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, have all been linked to a decline in cognitive performance.

According to research, IQ levels are not as stable as previously assumed, with one study showing that a teen’s IQ score might fluctuate by up to 21 points (more than one standard deviation, or the amount required to jump from “Average,” say, to Intellectually Disabled, or Gifted).

Diverse IQ subscales exhibit different patterns of change with age, according to a significant body of data. With age, verbal or crystallised intelligence rises pretty consistently. Nonverbal or fluid intelligence, on the other hand, improves until the mid-20s to early 30s, after which it gradually falls with age.

Only around half of one’s IQ is inherited. As a result, environmental effects (both shared and nonshared) have a role in IQ gains and losses throughout life. These factors alter throughout time and have an impact on IQ tests.

Certain traumatic brain injuries, as well as brain damage caused by environmental contaminants such as lead, can cause significant IQ decreases in a short period of time.

There is mounting evidence that unpleasant childhood experiences, particularly child maltreatment (abuse and neglect), can have a detrimental influence on overall IQ scores as well as IQ test subscales including verbal memory and processing speed.

IQ ratings are an estimation rather than a “real number.” Because all estimations contain inaccuracy, IQ scores do as well. 

Your score may fluctuate, but your underlying “real” intellect remains constant. That’s why most IQ tests give you a range in which your “actual” IQ is most likely to fall (called a Confidence Interval). 

Each time you are tested, your score will alter somewhat. Depending on the dependability of the particular test—usually plus or minus the standard deviation of that test—each IQ test and score, subscale score, and so on swings within a set range.

Conclusion – 

This blog post attempted to answer the question, “Does IQ increase with age?” and reviewed what IQ is, its application, importance and its various forms and features to help determine if IQ can increase with age. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments you may have.

References –

Does your IQ change as you get older? British Mensa Limited. (n.d.). Retrieved from,draw%20on%20to%20solve%20problems.

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Cox, L. 5 Experts Answer: Can Your IQ Change? (2013, May 30). Retrieved from

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Shukman, D. IQ ‘can change in teenage years’. (2011, October 19). Retrieved from

Lockett, E. 8 Ways to Increase Your IQ Levels. (2019, November 19). Retrieved from

Ratcliff, Roger et al. “Effects of aging and IQ on item and associative memory.” Journal of experimental psychology. General vol. 140,3 (2011): 464-87. doi:10.1037/a0023810. Retrieved from