Older Really Is Wiser

Some mental facilities actually do improve with age.

Yes, older people do tend to know more than younger people — they’ve been around longer. They score better on vocabulary tests and do better on crossword puzzles.

But older brains offer something else, according to a story in the New York Times.

It cites a new study that says older people’s brains may peak later in life than previously thought in areas such as social judgement and short-term memory.

An older study suggested that cognitive deficits in aging were caused by having too much knowledge to sort through.

But the new study suggests that there may be independent, distinct elements of memory and cognition that peak at different times in life. It says the older brain may move more slowly than its younger self, but is just as accurate in many areas and more adept at reading others’ moods — on top of being more knowledgable.

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