Posted by: Viktor Mar | 2010 February 2

Study: Older may indeed be wiser

TORONTO (UPI) — Canadian researchers suggest older brains may be better at decision-making and that older may indeed mean wiser.
Researchers at the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care Rotman Research Institute in Toronto found older adults were less likely than younger people to filter out irrelevant information and were 30 percent better at memory tasks involving irrelevant information.
"We found that older brains are not only less likely to suppress irrelevant information than younger brains, but they can link the relevant and irrelevant pieces of information together and implicitly transfer this knowledge to subsequent memory tasks," Karen Campbell, a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto under the supervision Dr. Lynn Hasher of Rotman Research Institute, said in a statement.
The study, published in Psychological Science, tested 24 older adults ages 60-73 and 24 younger adults ages 17-29 on two computer-based memory tasks involving irrelevant information.
"This could be a silver lining to aging and distraction," Hasher said. "Older adults with reduced attentional regulation seem to display greater knowledge of seemingly extraneous co-occurrences in the environment than younger adults."
As this type of knowledge is thought to play a critical role in real world decision-making, older adults may be the wiser decision-makers compared to younger adults because they have picked up so much more information, the study says.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

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