Michael Ramscar and his colleagues present evidence suggesting that changes in cognitive performance as we age is due to the increasing amount of information that is stored in our brains, which makes processing longer. Slower cognitive performance is due to the increased knowledge older adults have, not any inherent decline in cognitive functioning.
There are however, other variables that will impact learning and cognition as we age. For example, being in less stimulating environments, especially after retirement, and the onset of neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s will quickly impair cognitive functioning.
The authors hope that this research dispels fears that an aging population will be a heavy burden on society. Rather we should focus on enriching environments and combating diseases that may otherwise hinder the cognitive potential of older adults.
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