According to experts, several important brain processes can increase as people age, refuting the assumption that our mental skills diminish uniformly as we age.
Many people tend to become better at focusing on essential issues and rejecting distractions as they get older, according to the researchers, activities that support other crucial brain processes including memory, decision making, and self-control.
Cognitive Skills May Improve With Age, According To New Research
Cognitive abilities are directly linked to the brain and it was believed that with age one may not be able to be agile enough or lack the pace of such cognitive skills but this research has come up with a different finding which may be in favor of many people aging now.
As per the research, the cognitive skill of an individual become better and sharper than the people who are younger than him due to his increasing age.
“This implies that we can’t just talk about aging as causing decreases in general,” said lead researcher Joo Verissimo, an assistant professor at the University. “Perhaps we could discuss the specific brain functions that vary with age.”
“We employ all three procedures all of the time,” Verissimo said. “When driving a car, for example, alerting refers to your heightened preparation as you approach a junction.
When you transfer your attention to an unexpected movement, such as a pedestrian, you are orienting. Also, executive function helps you to block out distractions like birds or advertisements so you can concentrate on driving.”
Only alertness decreased with age among research participants, according to testing. Orientation and executive function both improved until people were in their mid-to-late 70s.
“Those are the talents I believe we felt deteriorated the most as we got older. Some aspects may be more stable, although previous research has indicated that they are generally impaired with age “Angela Gutchess, a professor of psychology at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, is a specialist on aging. “When you look at it more closely with a bigger sample, this new data actually says that’s not the case.” Those who age learn things in a better way compared to their abilities before.
Why is it possible for these skills to develop as your brain ages?
It might be down to experience, according to Verssimo’s staff. It makes it reasonable that abilities like orienting and executive inhibition would increase with lifetime practice and that they may even counteract some of the physical consequences of the aging brain.
“Perhaps the practice or accumulation of information that we have with our brain processes throughout our lives might counteract these losses,” added Verissimo. “It can lead to a lack of deterioration and, according to our findings, in certain circumstances, even to apparent and demonstrable improvement.”
It’s also possible that as we become older, the brain gets better at transferring resources to support the more important mental talents, according to Gutchess.
“The last 25 years or so of brain imaging literature has really expanded up how we think about aging,” she added. “Even in the face of some behavioral changes, older individuals’ brains seem to be rearranging and operating in various ways. Underneath the surface, there’s a lot of flexible, lively energy.”
If experience is the most important element, we may be able to age more gracefully by devising activities to keep our brain processes fresh, according to Verissimo.
“We know that some of these functions appear to be trainable,” he explained. “We know that if people are properly trained, they can improve. It’s possible that we might create focused therapies to train these kinds of attentional systems, which could have far-reaching consequences in everyday life.”