I figured I had at least a good 10 years left before I started calling people by the wrong name and forgetting how to spell certain words (Ha, who am I kidding? I did both of those things today), but a new study is all too eager to prove me wrong.
According a study published in this month’s PLOS One, brains experience “cognitive-motor decline” at the ripe age of 24. 24! If 24 is now “over the hill,” as this study suggests, I can’t even see that hill anymore, probably because my eyes have declined right along with my brain.
Response Time Starts to Lag at age… 24!
To figure this out, researchers asked 3,305 participants aged 16-44 to play the video game StarCraft 2. “Using a piecewise regression analysis, we find that age-related slowing of within-game, self-initiated response times begins at 24 years of age.” In layman’s terms? Your response time starts to lag once you turn 24. And apparently, the study suggests, superior skill level might not even matter. 24 = dunzo.
Or Is the Magic Age 27? Or 40?
However, this isn’t the first study to come along and put an age on brain slow-down. In 2009, the BBC reported on a study linking age 27 with the decline of “reasoning, spatial visualization and speed.” A 2004 article from the Harvard Gazette said brain aging actually starts at 40.
Good News! We make up for it with this skill
What can we gather from all of this? Basically, that brains age. But ALSO, those of us with over-the-hill brains might make up for this decline with the kind of strategy-execution and real-world experience that only time brings.
“One possible concern is that our finding of age-related decline in StarCraft 2 could be due to a speed accuracy trade-off: older players become slower in virtue of focusing on accurate movements or strategic planning,” the authors write.
Take that, youngins! While you’re zipping through a video game, we’re mulling over all the different outcomes, weighing each move carefully like sage turtles. Then again, an alien might come and blow up our spaceship while we’re deep in thought (I’m just assuming that’s what happens in StarCraft 2).
In other words, fellow brain dinosaurs, watch Sherlock to brush up on your analytical skills, and pour yourself a big ol” glass of wine. As WorldLifestyle”s Managing Editor, Kelly Lynch, puts it: “Things are going to shit; go ahead and have that drink.”