Learning Slows Down with Age

Learning Slows Down with Age

Most aspects of mental processing slow down as we age. While we continue to accumulate knowledge of the world at a slower rate, we gain more experience that increases our wisdom.

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Problem Solving

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Researchers disagree in their hypotheses about how our minds tend to get worse with age. What can be observed is the following:

  • Older individuals do struggle more with Stroop tasks, where an automatic habit needs to be overridden by instructions.
  • Older individuals have a harder time with multitasking.
  • Older people find it difficult to bind information that occurs in a combined context. It impacts their ability to remember life events.

However, older people seem to be better at emotional regulation.

Cognitive Reserve

Some people seem to age mostly with minds intact and others notice dramatic slowdowns. The brain appears to have a lot of redundancy built-in - known as cognitive reserve.

Education seems to have a protective effect on aging, possibly because education contributes to cognitive reserve.

Some aspects of cognitive aging can be slowed down with training.

  • To prevent cognitive decline, exercise and eat well while you're younger.
  • Learn more in the early years, and continue learning throughout your lifetime.
  • Avoid multitasking or environments with distractors.
  • Be more strategic with cues and reminders for important information.
  • Be deliberate in organizing the information you want to learn.

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RELATED IDEAS

There are three possible reasons why the ability to learn a language decreases at 18.

  • Social changes: At 18, late teens typically graduate high school and may no longer have the time, opportunity or learning environment to study a second language.
  • Interference: The rules of a first language may interfere with the ability to learn a second language.
  • Continuing brain development: Changes in the brain that continue during the late teens and early 20s may make learning harder.

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IDEAS

Fluid vs. Crystallized intelligence

In the intelligence field, there is a distinction between:

  •  "fluid" intelligence (indexed by tests of abstract reasoning and pattern detection);
  •  "crystallized" intelligence (indexed by measures of vocabulary and general knowledge).
<b>Progressive habits are&nbsp...
Progressive habits are about managing growth, while consistent habits  are  are about managing decline. Progressive habits are less stable, but offer higher growth. Consistent habits offer lower growth, but are more stable.

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