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The amazing fertility of the older mind

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20170828-the-amazing-fertility-of-the-older-mind

bbc.com

The amazing fertility of the older mind
If you ever fear that you are already too old to learn a new skill, remember Priscilla Sitienei, a midwife from Ndalat in rural Kenya. Having grown up without free primary school education, she had never learnt to read or write.

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Never Too Late To Learn

The general perception is that an old brain past its prime cannot learn new things, as it cannot grasp information like a young adult.

New studies show that complex skills like reading or writing can be learned at any age, unlike previously believed.

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The Adaptiveness Of The Brain

  • The adaptiveness of the brain, which scientists have now better understood is called Neuroplasticity.
  • Studies show that brains of adults and elders can learn a new language just as a child could, provided they get the opportunity and are not inhibited towards making mistakes.

A child's brain is indeed completely raw, known as 'Tabula Rasa' and they can find it easier to master certain skills of perception, but at the same time, adults have the advantage of analysis, self-reflection and greater discipline.

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Psychological Barriers

The barrier to learning in adults may consist of preconceived notions, negativity or lack of confidence.
Older adults also underestimate the power of their own memories, reinforcing the belief that they cannot learn or remember, and making it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Education has no age limit, and older adults need to break these psychological barriers to learning, leading to profound benefits and a sharper mind.

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