Speed of cognitive processes was unchanged until the age of 60 years

(ORDO NEWS) — German scientists questioned the notion that the speed of mental processes in the brain slows down after 20 years. Instead, they showed that it remained at the same level until the age of 60.

However, the speed of making certain decisions, as such, really decreases with age, but this is not due to the slowdown in the work of the “gray matter”.

It is widely believed that the speed of cognitive processes in our brain begins to slow down in adolescence, having passed its peak around the age of 20. Indeed, many may recall that at age 20, various tasks seemed to be thought out faster than in more mature years. This is evidenced by various scientific studies.

Scientists from the University of Heidelberg (Germany) do not deny this, but after conducting their own research, they found a new reason for slowing down cognitive functions, not related to the speed of the brain.

The experiment took place online. The task of the volunteers was to classify certain words and images that appeared on the screen by pressing the “correct” keys on the keyboard. And what did the researchers see? That the response time was indeed slower in subjects over 20 compared to younger participants.

However, according to experts, this was hardly due to a slowdown in their cognitive processes. Using mathematical models (Bayesian hierarchical modeling), scientists came to the conclusion that this phenomenon lies outside the speed of the brain and may be associated with other factors.

First of all, with the fact that with age, people who have received a certain life experience become more cautious and, in principle, make certain decisions more slowly.

And with age, a person’s physical reflexes slow down, so he can react more slowly to something (for example, press buttons on a keyboard) for purely physiological reasons.

But after the age of 60, cognitive processes in the brain really begin to slow down. Although this happens differently for different people: for some, the degree of “mental” speed is still very high, for someone it is quite low.

The reasons for this are still unknown to scientists – they hope to get an answer to this question in future studies. In addition, the work of experts has shown that the speed of the brain is approximately at the same level in a variety of population groups.

It has little to do with gender, race, or level of education. Scientists, however, emphasize that, as usual, additional studies and a study of the response rate during the performance of other tasks by the subjects are needed for final conclusions.


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