Saturday, December 29, 2007

Is it possible to be too smart?

Blogging on Peer-Reviewed ResearchIs it possible that too much (high) fluid intelligence (Gf) can be detrimental to some forms of cognitive performance? Possibly, according to Shamosh and Gray's (2007) article "The relation between fluid intelligence and resource depletion" published in Cognition and Emotion. Although a small and select sample (the ubiquitous sample of undergraduate students), this study suggested the possibility that individuals with higher Gf may "deplete" their self-regulation resources more than individuals with lower Gf. Maybe this is why people who engage in strenuous cognitive performance over time often end up feeling drained...and in need of a break. At least this is going to give me a valid excuse when I feel I simply can't copy anymore after "thinking too hard."

  • Abstract: Self-regulation depends on a limited resource that can be depleted temporarily, but little is known about how this resource relates to individual differences in cognitive ability. We investigated whether self-regulatory depletion would vary with individual differences in fluid intelligence (gF), a stable index of cognitive ability with ties to executive function. Participants performed an emotion regulation task varying in self-regulatory demand, followed by the Multi-Source Interference Task to assess depletion. On a separate day, participants completed Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices to assess gF. Emotion suppression led to impairment on the interference task, indicating self-regulatory depletion. Critically, higher gF was associated with greater depletion. Controlling for variables reflecting susceptibility to task demands and trait motivation did not influence this effect. The results have implications for theories of the relation between self-regulatory and cognitive abilities, and the mechanisms supporting the control of behaviour.

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