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The development of intellectual competence in childhood and adolescence follows a fairly uniform path, with new stages of competence and differentiation of functioning occurring within a relatively narrow age band. By contrast, there are widely divergent individual trajectories over the life course of adult intelligence. However, over the 50-year course of the SLS (Schaie 1996, 2005), sufficient evidence has been gathered to reach some rather definitive conclusions on a number of core questions:

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FIGURE 7–1. Longitudinal age changes for the primary mental abilities.Source. Schaie KW: Developmental Influences on Adult Intelligence: The Seattle Longitudinal Study. New York, Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 116. Reprinted with permission.

FIGURE 7–2. Longitudinal age changes for the latent ability constructs.Source. Schaie KW: Developmental Influences on Adult Intelligence: The Seattle Longitudinal Study. New York, Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 127. Reprinted with permission.

FIGURE 7–3. Cumulative cohort differences for the primary mental abilities.Source. Schaie KW: Developmental Influences on Adult Intelligence: The Seattle Longitudinal Study. New York, Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 137. Reprinted with permission.

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