Page 5 - What_keeps_you_sharp
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We also gave people the chance to say if they thought certain skills would never change with age. Consistent with the results above, most people thought memory would be affected by the ageing process; over 97% of the sample expected to see changes in their memory as they got older.
However, more than 40% thought wisdom and knowledge would never decline.
How do the survey results
match other research?
Memory is a skill we are particularly aware of, especially as we get older. It is therefore not surprising memory was the skill people thought might decline earliest.
Studies following large groups of people across many years have suggested
that it might actually be our speed of thinking that is the  rst thinking skill
to change. And those changes might begin in our early twenties!
However, those kinds of early changes are in contrast to many other skills that we continue to develop throughout midlife and beyond. Our word skills are a good example of something we are likely to retain better into later life.
The important thing to remember is that thinking skills cover a whole range of things, and while some changes might be expected, those will vary depending on the thinking skill we’re considering. Another important point to keep in mind is that changes in thinking skills also differ from person to person.
Not only that, people might have different beliefs about when changes might start to occur. Who was more optimistic about the changes in thinking skills: Older or younger people?
Men or women?
What keeps you sharp? A national survey about what people in the UK think about their thinking skills
Hedden T. & Gabrieli, J. D. E. (2004). Insights into the ageing mind: a view from cognitive neuroscience. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 5, 87–96. doi:10.1038/nrn1323

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