Your brain gets older every day. Here's one reason that might not be so bad.
By now you know that as your brain ages, it looks more and more like Swiss cheese.
Things you’d like to keep in slip out through the holes and it gets harder and harder to pack new things into your cheese-head. You know it. I know it. But is it really true?
Already there’s evidence that older brains are better at some things than younger brains. For example (link is external), older people tend to be able to answer more general knowledge questions than people with younger brains. That makes sense: An older brain has had longer to accumulate knowledge and studies have shown (link is external) that (for better and for worse) older brains are less likely to overwrite old knowledge with new knowledge so that facts become “crystalized”. You can see it for yourself: Try playing Jeopardy against a healthy older relative. You may win in categories like “Before and After” that require fluid intelligence, but that’s small potatoes compared with your pitiful performance in knowledge-based categories like U.S. Presidents, Sports, State Capitals, American History and Literature.
Now there’s more evidence for the power of a brain aged to perfection. It comes from a study (link is external) published in the journal Psychological Science by Columbia University researchers Janet Metcalfe, David Friedman and colleagues.
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