General Question

unddiefliege's avatar

Do you sometimes feel like your intelligence is decreasing?

Asked by unddiefliege (115points) May 11th, 2009

mh, maybe it’s my lifestyle, but i seriously think i was smarter a couple of months ago… especially when i read stuff i wrote.

there are just no ideas popping up in my head anymore!

or is it just a phase?

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28 Answers

DrasticDreamer's avatar

It could be anything from exhaustion to stress. Or, if you’re partying a lot more than you used to and aren’t taking the time to exercise your brain, you might be slipping a little. If that’s the case, just make an effort to constantly use your brain and all should be well.

basp's avatar

I felt that when my children were teenagers. Now that they are adults, I have gotten so much wiser…. Or so they tell me, anyway.

Supacase's avatar

Yes. I have been staying at home with my daughter and have let the my own intellectual (and other) needs fall to the wayside. Use it or lose it – and I feel like I’ve lost a lot of it. I’m teaching her things, of course, but I would like to think I exceeded the knowledge of a 3 y/o at some point. ;-)

Jeruba's avatar

I know my memory is taking a hit with age, and there are certainly times when my creative powers are at an ebb. Sometimes my mental energy is down. But I don’t think my capacity to learn, to reason, and to understand has become impaired over time.

Probably if you look at the evidence you will see that it isn’t actual intelligence that you’re talking about, but something that’s affected by situational and environmental variables.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

yeah, when I interact with certain people or watch certain programming on TV

Disc2021's avatar

Absolutely. I dont understand it either – sometimes it feels like I’m on top of everything from book smarts to ideology. Other times, I feel a little overwhelmed and just need to step back and take a break from it all.

The enigma I face is that as much as you know, there is always more to learn and in learning more I start to forget the basics or previous stuff I learned. It’s just hard to keep your mental database organized when you’re constantly throwing old stuff out and new stuff in. Bleh.

basp's avatar

Thanks. I liked your answer too!

Dansedescygnes's avatar

The opposite, actually, I feel like my intelligence is increasing. I look back at things I wrote and look at stuff now and it’s infinitely better. Maybe it’s because I’m only 17 and not even an adult yet…

I sure hope I feel this way for as long as possible.

cak's avatar

I sat in the ER today. I went in a reasonably intelligent person, I came out not quite the same. Not only did it drain my intelligence, my husband’s intelligence, too.

Jeruba's avatar

@cak, <worried> everything ok??

DarkScribe's avatar

It is known as osmosis. All you have to do is hang around teenagers.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I saw that Timberlake Ellis Island sketch and the new Digital Short from Saturday Night Live online yesterday, and I felt my IQ decrease markedly. I had to take a walk and then sit down with a chapter of Plato’s The Republic before I felt like my old, smart self again. Hahaha! “Mother lover!” XD ::snerk!::

In all seriousness, though, exercise is extremely helpful in keeping the neurons in tip-top shape. Remember: Sit mens sana in corpore sano!

DarkScribe's avatar

You will find that when you have been eating a large quantity of carbohydrates that your intellect slows a little. It is when some people feel sleepy after a meal. They have recently discovered that the brain can become insulin resistant when the body’s carb level is high. They are now referring in many medical research circles to Alzheimer’s as Type Three Diabetes. I have been experimenting with two relatives who have Alzheimer’s by deliberately lowering their blood glucose levels. When I do, they can recall things, do crosswords, behave in a fairly normal fashion. Insulin, aside from all of the other “diabetic” needs, is essential to the brain for memory and intellectual response. It is why exercise helps Alzheimer’s patients – exercise is the best way to lower Blood Glucose Levels without drugs. The research is too new to become mainstream but it is thought by many researchers that the drugs currently used to treat type 2 diabetes (NOT type 1) will eventually be used to restore function to Alzheimer’s suffers. I decided to try it myself, with, as I have mentioned, great success. (I am a type 2 diabetic – medically acquired as a response to long term Prednisone – but I don’t use drugs, I exercise and eat low carb diet instead.)

YARNLADY's avatar

I have times when my intellect is interfered with due to problems of aging and hormone deficiency, but my intelligence level is still the same, as evidenced by ideas filling my brain, just as they always have.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I dont feel my intelligence has decreased any, just changed what i know a lot about. I think i still have the same capacity for knowledge if not larger, but just some stuff you dont use it you forget it and then replace it with new things. For instance i used to be really good at math and even took college math classes in my senior year. After i got out of school i stopped using it and now im pretty fucktarded when it comes to math, but if you ask me something relating to marine life i could probably go on for hours with you in detail about the topic.

casheroo's avatar

I feel the same as @Supacase. Now that I’m back in school and working, I feel like the cobwebs are being removed.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

… I blame the weed.

SeventhSense's avatar

I used to feel compelled to recall information immediately but as I get older I don’t feel quite the compulsion to have an arsenal of information on the “battle field”. I can recall it at will but sometimes I just have to dig through a few “files” complete with post it notes and crossed out titles on the bindings from years of updating and revision. Much of that compulsion is probably just pride.
I always liked Columbo anyway.

wundayatta's avatar

This is not something I like to think about. I’m tempted to prevaricate, and ask what intelligence is. I’m tempted to lie, and say I’m feeling a lot stupider.

The truth is that it’s possible. It is typical for people with bipolar disorder to report feeling less intelligent when on drugs. I can’t say as I feel less intelligent, but there are other effects that are related to intelligence that I do feel. The main one is that I can’t remember words as well. Often, when I’m writing an answer on fluther, I’ll be sitting for minutes, trying to remember a word. Eventually, I may have to use a thesaurus to try to find it.

The other thing is that I don’t seem to be able to understand statistics as well as I did when I was manic. Back then, my mind raced, and I felt like I could understand anything after hearing it once. Now, I can’t do that. I can’t remember my stats so well, and the metaphors I used to use to understand it don’t work as well. I have to ask dumber questions now. I can’t remember the various regression functions any more.

Hmmm. I guess, in looking at that, I’d have to say I’m less intelligent. Now, whether it’s due to drugs, or not having taken a course in a couple years, or growing older, who knows? I do know that this is not a sometimes feeling. I’m just not as sharp as I used to be. Maybe some day I’ll try going off my meds to see what happens. But not today.

cak's avatar

@Jeruba Had the joy of finding yet another thing that chemo damaged, today. Probably not so okay. Thank you, though, for asking.

YARNLADY's avatar

@daloon May I suggest you talk to your doctor about these specific items? A blog friend of mine says that when she discussed some issues with her doctor, she was able to suggest some diet changes/drug interactions and dosage changes that really helped.

SeventhSense's avatar

I think you just sublimated. :)

wundayatta's avatar

@SeventhSense Yeah, I’m just such a responsible guy, amn’t I? [eyes rolling]

augustlan's avatar

I felt this way for years, while I stayed home with my children. However, as they’ve grown and become very intelligent beings themselves, I now find that they stimulate my brain in wonderful ways. Some of the deepest conversations I have are with them.

I have to admit, finding Fluther helped me in this regard too.

veronasgirl's avatar

I’ve been feeling this way a lot recently. I’m a college student and I just finished a year of intensive art and dance classes, and then suddenly I was back in academic classes. I felt like my intelligence had decreased after a year away from academic courses.

unddiefliege's avatar

Having asked this question yesterday, it came a couple of times to my mind again today. I tried observing myself and realized, that what I described as intelligence was really my ability to let go in some way.

what i mean is, that in discussions in the classroom (I’m studying media and communication – so there’s a huge part dedicated to discussions) letting go leads me to somehow more risky, but on the other hand more insightful contributions.

and applying this to my abilities in writing, i guess it really depends how smart i want to appear vs. what i really have to say.

certainly, as mentioned by some of you guys (thanks at this point for your interesting input!), external variables like nutrition, lifestyle and stimulation, drug use greatly affects brain abilities. but also – thats my conclusion for today – it’s my attitude towards my abilities. even when thinking “privately” – that means actually thinking without expressing it in some form to the outer world – it really makes a difference, if i would just let go instead of focusing on some expectation of quality.

I especially like the answere of augustian, because it shows, that great thoughts come with great people. just 5 minutes ago i called a good friend of mine, with whom i always had inspiring conversations. he and 2 other guys were commilitones of mine and graduated a year ago – making me the only one of us left at university. our group of 4 did projects together in which we seemed to bring more performance than ever before. and the reason might be: ability to let go – as augustian can now, as his/her children are old enough and seem to have developed to healthy personalities. what a nice feeling that must be, cheerio!

so, to say it shortly: i guess it’s inspiring people who make the best out of us…
And to find more of them, being open makes us smart too.

Again: Thank you!

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