Some people may be older or younger than they seem. In some instances, such judgments may be based on appearance. In many cases, however, age judgments are based on how a person thinks and acts. Mental age is very similar, although it is based on more than an assumption. It is a mental or psychological age that is typically determined by an intelligence or personality test.
This sort of age calculation is a debatable topic. Some critics believe it is completely irrelevant and meaningless. They believe that both the calculation methods and the meanings drawn from them are problematic and deceptive.
Others believe mental calculations are mostly beneficial for children or the mentally impaired. One reason for this is because normal adult intelligence is believed to be relatively stable. According to these beliefs, a person’s intelligence at 30 years old should be the same as when she is 33. However, a child who is 10 should have a different level of intelligence when she is 12.
Some mental health professionals believe recognizing mental age can be a benefit. This may especially be true for older people who feel their physical age is definitive and restrictive. If those people were to instead focus on a younger mental age, theories suggest they may experience improved physical and psychological wellness. In other words, they may actually begin to feel younger.
There are several ways to calculate mental age. Sometimes a person will take some type of intelligence or personality test. Then, the test results may be compared against other results by people who are the same physical age. In other cases, there may be predetermined factors against which the results are measured. In either instance, the age is usually determined, which specifies how old a person would be if his physical age were disregarded.
Mental age can also be used to determine an intelligence score known as an IQ. In these instances, a person is normally given an intelligence test. The numerical result from that test is then applied to an equation that includes the person’s physical age. The solution of the equation equals the person’s intelligence score, which may also be called his mental age.