People believe that the brain slows down as age adds up. The aging group thinks they’re losing memory acuity, believing it is normal to be forgetful. It is true that their memory may be narrowing a bit and their reaction time not as responsive as before; but they underestimated the experience they gathered growing up.
Years of living banks wisdom onto the brain. Older people not only have more knowledge and intelligence, but they have superior judgment, emotional resiliency and a better understanding of human nature. These things are picked up in a lifetime of existing.
Older people are wiser than younger people. The Berlin Wisdom Project investigated numerous studies on intelligence and wisdom. They found that “a plateau of optimal wisdom performance” happens in the middle and old age. The fading of memory and cognitive functioning only dramatizes at around age 75.
The net gain in their brain surmounts the loses. A study in the University of Toronto compares the brains of young and middle age subjects when matching faces with names. It shows that the middle age is as competent as the young, but the scans reveal how their brains work. The older pool accesses the prefrontal cortex. They used a powerful section in their brain to compensate on the weakened parts.
“Being able to run fast does not always win the race – you have to know how to best use your abilities”, said Dr. Oury Monchi of the Institute of Geriatrics at the University of Montreal. Her study validated that while young people decide in an instant, they make more mistakes. Older people take more time deciding but are more efficient. Neuro-imaging scans reveal that older brains are better in designating its resources.
Younger men are impulsive while the older men are thoughtful. And since there is less dopamine in an elderly brain, emotions have a faint contribution in the decisions. Slowing down is not entirely a weakness, but a wise strategy.
Do you think you’re wiser now than before?