(ORDO NEWS) — Alas, with age, almost everyone begins to experience memory problems. Researchers put forward many hypotheses as to why this might be happening. The new theory is that people are simply running out of “computer space”.
You may find it difficult to remember new information, simply because there is no more room in your head!
This conclusion was reached by experts from Harvard University, Columbia University (USA) and the University of Toronto (Canada), who analyzed a number of previous works in the field of behavior and neuroimaging.
The researchers think older people’s brains allocate more space for knowledge accumulated over previous years, which means that when trying to access memories, it takes longer to process the information and find the right one. Unfortunately, the older we get, the harder it is for us to suppress information that no longer matters.
“Older adults have a vast amount of knowledge but tend to show lower episodic memory performance on many tasks compared to younger adults,” the authors write in their paper.
“We propose that this paradox can be explained by the fact that older people are more likely to activate redundant information. This, in turn, can create difficulty finding target information (and negatively impact episodic and working memory tasks).”
However, while this rich life experience can make memory recovery difficult, the researchers say it also has its upsides, as it can boost creativity and decision-making ability.
“The evidence suggests that older people show preserved and sometimes enhanced creativity,” the researchers said.
They also suggest that accumulated knowledge can help older people when it comes to making decisions where they can use accumulated wisdom. The study found that older adults rely more heavily on prior knowledge when performing a cognitive task than younger adults.
With more research and a deeper understanding of how memory works in older adults, experts may be able to find new ways to help people with memory overflow.
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