Brains Can Remain Sharp Until the Age of 60
- Post by: Irjar Jira
- February 23, 2022
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According to one study, the brain can remain sharp until the age of 60.
According to research, brains remain sharp well into middle age, contrary to the popular belief that mental speed declines after our twenties and thirties. A study of 1.2 million people aged 10 to 80 discovered that mental speed remained relatively stable between the ages of 30 and 60, but caution increased with age.
Heidelberg University in Germany researchers used an online task to estimate people’s decision-making times.
Their findings were published in Nature Human Behaviour.
The scientists showed participants a series of online images and asked them to categorize them as good or bad by pressing different buttons.
They propose that the task involves distinct processes, such as mental speed, which is roughly defined as the rate at which we process information to make a decision, decision caution, which looks at the time spent considering information before making a decision, and finally the time spent actually pressing a button.
Researchers were able to estimate the speed at which participants completed each step of the process by using mathematical models.
They discovered that, while the average time to complete a task decreased after the age of 20, the mental speed of processing information did not begin to slow until the age of 60.
The study discovered:
People under the age of 18 were the least cautious and most willing to sacrifice accuracy for speed.
Between the ages of 18 and 65, people became more cautious about making decisions.
People also took longer to press the appropriate button as they aged.
Scientists acknowledge that many different processes are likely to be involved in decision-making and that other factors, such as previously formed opinions, may also influence decision-making speed.
“Our findings challenge the widespread notion of an age-related slowdown in mental speed for large parts of the human lifespan and typical work careers,” they conclude.