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How Does Age Change How You Learn? | Scott H Young

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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How Does Age Change How You Learn? | Scott H Young

How Does Age Change How You Learn? | Scott H Young

https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2020/02/24/age-learning/

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Key Ideas

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.

Our minds tend to grow worse

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.

Reducing the Impact of Cognitive Decline

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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