Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Fluid Intelligence: Are we already doomed by the time we finish Surgery Residency?

Regarding the concept of Fluid Intelligence: I recently conversed with Randall Engle who is a pioneer in this area. It appears that our fluid intelligence plateaus at age 22 and drops precipitously at age 42. My comment to him was that by the time we finish an undergraduate degree, MD and surgery residency we are already 31 years old meaning we only have a decade of intuitive problem solving ability according to his research. We discussed signs of reduced fluid intelligence and potential methods to augment that, but unlike working memory, there is not much we can do about it. I am sorting thru my notes, but the more he talks the more I realized that our quandary in medicine for responding to a novel situation as a leader, needs much further investigation.

To me this indicates that we need to provide a basic mental template to allow one to recognize a problem exists, calm themselves and after briefing the team, determining if they need to react or need more information.
Kenneth A. Lipshy, MD, FACS

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