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Think you should care about your slowing of the brain after 50 years? Too late. It’s already started at 24 years old. Or at least that’s what a Canadian study of players in a hyper-competitive computer game found.
Apparently our cognitive motor skills – that is, the speed at which we process something and react to it – peaks at 24, then begins to slowly decline.
But don’t be depressed! We make up for it by becoming more cunning and cunning, replacing speed with better strategy. (Imagine the difference between smart young reporter Zoe Barnes on the TV show Card castle and its wily older politician Frank Underwood. And who won this battle, may I specify?)
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The three researchers from Simon Fraser University of Canada published their findings April 9 in the online newspaper PLOS ONE, with a title that begins with “Over the Hill at 24”.
The trio wanted to investigate when people begin to experience an age-related decline in their cognitive motor abilities and how they compensate for this, the researchers explained in a Press release. They collected data from a group of 3,305 players, aged 16 to 44, of the fast-paced and unforgiving computer war game “StarCraft II”.
Psychology PhD student Joe Thompson, Associate Professor Mark Blair, and Statistics and Actuarial PhD student Andrew Henrey tracked player performance data and used complex statistical modeling to understand how players reacted to opponents. and how quickly it took them to react.
Sorry, 20s, but as lead author Thompson said, after “about 24 years, gamers show a decline in a measure of cognitive speed that is known to be important for performance. This decline in cognitive performance is present even at higher skill levels.”
But there was good news for older players: what they lacked in speed, they made up for in strategy. They used shortcuts and other simplified techniques to play the game more efficiently, “allowing them to retain their skills, despite the loss of cognitive motor speed,” Thompson said.
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“The older player is slower than the younger player, but they can be equivalent players, so the trickery comes into play,” Blair told the Vancouver Sun.
What the results indicate, Thompson noted, is that we are continually adapting to the effects of aging, starting quite early. “So give yourself a pat on the back for just maintaining your skills,” he said. “If you do that, you show growth and development.”
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