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Why might that be? There are a few possible reasons. Many of the younger people won’t have experienced any changes, so perhaps they’re having
to guess, while the older people might have a better understanding from their own experience.
Of course, the older people who completed the survey might be quite different to the average population. Many took the survey online so we need to remember those people might have different backgrounds to those who didn’t take part.
And what about the men versus women? First of all, there were no differences in the ages men and women thought memory or number skills might start to change.
Where there were differences, the men generally expected thinking skills to decline earlier than women, though most of these differences were quite small, only a few months to at most 31⁄2 years.
That biggest difference was for wisdom and knowledge; while men thought those skills would start to decline about 831⁄2 years old, women thought they would be retained until 87.
We need to be careful about taking
too much from these patterns, but it is interesting nonetheless – older people and women were more optimistic about how long they might retain different kinds of thinking skills with age!
What keeps you sharp? A national survey about what people in the UK think about their thinking skills
So, what might in uence the changes we experience in thinking skills?

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