A Fascinating New Idea About What It Means When You Start Forgetting Things

Businessinsider.com; It’s a saying favored by boomers and grandparents, a comeback beloved enough to make an appearance in New Yorker cartoons and on countless T-shirts: “I’ve forgotten more than you know.”

Now, a team of researchers at the University of Tübingen in Germany has offeredsome support for the idea that the slowed-down recall we associate with getting older may sometimes be a side effect of a mind that’s stuffed with decades of information — not a symptom of certain cognitive decline.

The findings are based on a series of computer simulations of learning and memory, not tests of actual people.

Skeptics abound. “This feel-good news that slowing of decisions on all tasks is not a defining symptom of progressive failure but an honourable distinction of an age-stocked mind has eagerly excited the media, but not researchers on cognitive aging,” wrote one such researcher.

Still, the recent study suggests a new model of the aging mind to investigate further — one that would offer considerable comfort to anyone who’s ever experienced a “senior moment.”

Older And Wiser

The basic idea is that “the larger the library you have in your head, the longer it usually takes to find a particular word,” Benedict Carey writes, in an article about the study in The New York Times.

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Categories: Americas, Science

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