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Experience trumps raw brain power

Anonymous Coward
User ID: 69368333
07/19/2016 08:50 AM
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Experience trumps raw brain power
There are two performance curves. One is the raw brain power (IQ, mental agility) and the other one is the experience and wisdom (learned cause-and-effect, projection, empathy).

The two curves develop at a different rate. You reach your maximum in raw brain power when you're about 16-20 yo. That's when your mind has fully developed and is at its most agile. Then it starts to taper off slowly, and you've lost about half of it at around 40. On the other hand, the experience and wisdom takes more time to accumulate, but it grows constantly.

Your total mental power is the sum of these curves. That's why you don't peak in mental power when you're 20 yo. Your accumulating experience and wisdom will keep increasing your total mental power until at around 35-40 it starts to fall. At that point your experience and wisdom can't keep up with the dropping levels in raw brain power.

That's why the young people should not dismiss the experience of older people. Yes, they might not be as quick as you are, but they have the ability to project outcomes of actions based on their experience, they can take other people into account better (empathy) and understand complex cause-and-effect chains more easily. Life seems so simple to young people, but the longer you live, the more your realize that it's incredibly complex and impossible to master. Every action comes with an unintended consequences and you've got to be able to evaluate how bad those unintended consequences could be (even though you can't forecast the consequences themselves).