Sharp old thoughts
From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.
Growing old can slow a person down, but not in everything. A study that looked at thinking ability indicates older people can stay as sharp in some areas as younger ones if they push themselves.
Roger Ratcliff of Ohio State had older people and college students do computer-based tests that measured accuracy and reaction time. The college students did better, until the researchers asked the older people to speed up their responses:
“If we asked them to speed up, they can, and they can get about as fast as young people who had no special instructions.” (7 seconds)
Ratcliff says older people can have other limitations, though, and so should judge their own strengths and weaknesses.
The study in the journal Cognitive Psychology was supported by the National Institutes of Health.
Learn more at hhs.gov.
HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.
Last revised: March 7, 2012