Monday, January 20, 2014

Brains of elderly slow because they know so much

The brains of older people only appear to slow down because they have so much information to compute, much like a full-up hard drive, scientists believe. - The Telegraph

“The human brain works slower in old age,” said Dr. Michael Ramscar, “but only because we have stored more information over time...The brains of older people do not get weak. On the contrary, they simply know more.”

...“Imagine someone who knows two people’s birthdays and can recall them almost perfectly.
“Would you really want to say that person has a better memory than a person who knows the birthdays of 2000 people, but can ‘only’ match the right person to the right birthday nine times out of ten?” said Dr Ramscar.

The study provides more than an explanation of why, in the light of all the extra information they have to process, we might expect older brains to seem slower and more forgetful than younger brains.

The study was published in the Journal of Topics in Cognitive Science