Theory of Cognitive Processing

Theory of Cognitive Processing
Fluid Reasoning

Technical Definition
Fluid reasoning is the ability to use and engage in various mental operations when faced with a relatively novel task that cannot be performed automatically. It includes the ability to discover the underlying characteristic that governs a problem or set of materials, the ability to start with stated rules, premises, or conditions, and engage in one or more steps to reach a solution to a problem. It also affects the ability to reason inductively and deductively with concepts involving mathematical relations and properties.

User Friendly Description
Fluid Reasoning refers to a type of thinking that an individual may use when faced with a relatively new task that cannot be performed automatically. This type of thinking includes such things as forming and recognizing concepts (e.g., how are a dog, cat, and cow alike?), identifying and perceiving relationships (e.g., sun is to morning as moon is to night), drawing inferences (e.g., after reading a story, answer the question), and reorganizing or transforming information. Overall, this ability can be thought of as a problem-solving type of intelligence.

Link to Achievement
Reading: Fluid reasoning or reasoning abilities have been shown to play a moderate role in reading. For example, the ability to reach general conclusions from specific information is important for reading comprehension.

Math: Fluid reasoning is related to mathematical activities at all ages. For example, figuring out how to set up math problems by using information in a word problem is important for math reasoning. Written Expression: Fluid Reasoning skills are related to basic writing skills primarily in the elementary school years and are consistently related to written expression at all ages.

Crystallized Intelligence 
(Comprehension Knowledge or Verbal Comprehension)

Technical Definition
Crystallized intelligence is the breadth and depth of a person’s acquired knowledge of a culture and the effective application of this knowledge. It includes general language development or the understanding of words, sentences, and paragraphs (not requiring reading) in spoken native language, the extent of vocabulary that can be understood in terms of correct word meanings, the ability to listen to and comprehend oral communication, the range of general concepts, and the range of cultural knowledge (e.g., music, art).

User Friendly Description 
Crystallized abilities refer to a person’s knowledge base (or general fund of information) that has been accumulated over time. It involves knowledge of one’s culture, as well as verbal or language-based knowledge that has been developed during general life experiences and formal schooling.

Link to Achievement

Reading: Crystallized abilities, especially one’s language development, vocabulary knowledge, and the ability to listen are important for reading. This ability is related to reading comprehension in particular. Low crystallized abilities may hamper an individual’s ability to comprehend written text due to a lack of vocabulary knowledge, basic concepts, and general life experiences that are needed to understand the text.

Math: Crystallized abilities, including language development, vocabulary knowledge, and listening abilities are important to math achievement at all ages. These abilities become increasingly more important with age. Low crystallized abilities may hamper an individual’s ability to comprehend word problems due to a lack of vocabulary knowledge. They may hamper one’s ability to learn basic math processes, such as long division, due to impairments in one’s ability to listen to and follow sequential directions.

Written Expression: Crystallized abilities, such as language development, vocabulary knowledge, and general information are important to writing achievement primarily after age seven (7). These abilities become increasingly more important with age.

Oral Language: Crystallized abilities, especially one’s language development, vocabulary knowledge, and the ability to listen are important for both listening comprehension and oral expression. Low crystallized abilities may hamper an individual’s ability to comprehend oral communications due to a lack of vocabulary knowledge, basic concepts, and general life experiences that are needed to understand the information being presented.

The following information was adapted from: Flanagan, D. P., Ortiz, S. O., Alfonso, V. C. & Mascolo (2002). The Achievement Test Desk Reference: Comprehensive Assessment and Learning Disabilities. Boston: Allyn & Bacon..
Flanagan, D. P., & Ortiz, S. O. (2001). Essentials of the cross battery approach. New York: Wiley.. Flanagan, D. P., McGrew, K.S. & Ortiz, S. O. (2000). The Weschler intelligence scale s and Gf-Gc theory: A contemporary approach to interpretation. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.