Many of us would associate conditions like forgetfulness and memory loss with old age. This research seems to contradict this stance, as experts from the Ohio State University have revealed that elderly individuals and children may be equally fast in completing brain activities.
In this trial, a model that takes into account both accuracy and speed was accessed to gauge the result of the subjects. In the first experiment, subjects were instructed to sit in front of the computer screen displaying a clan of asterisks. Participants had to quickly decide whether the group of asterisks fall in the category of 31 to 50 small number or 51 to 70 large number. The answer was to be selected by tapping one of the answer keys.
Roger Ratcliff, professor of psychology at Ohio State University and co-author of the studies, commented, “Many people think that it is just natural for older people’s brains to slow down as they age, but we’re finding that isn’t always true.”
In another subsequent study, the volunteers were asked to guess if the string of letters appearing on the screen is part of the English language. In both these Child Development studies, students from third grade and above, adults and senior citizens were incorporated.
According to the results, there seemed to be an increase in accuracy and reduction in response time for both the tasks in children as well as adults. Younger kids seemingly took more time to enter the answer as compared to older children and adults. Cumulatively, there was not much difference in accuracy across all the groups. For simple tasks both response time and accuracy seemed to be almost the same for younger as well as the older people.
Irrespective of the results, the scientists opined that there ought to more positive attitudes towards the cognitive abilities of seniors. The study essentially suggested that older people can do certain brain tasks as effectively as the younger generation.
The analysis is published in the journal, Child Development.