None of us wants to believe that our brain slows down as we age – even if we’ve noticed a few signs of it happening! But the good news is you don’t need to go out of your way to enhance your cognitive ability – you just have to do what you love.
We know that Starts at 60 readers are tech-savvy and connected, with most of you using a computer, smartphone and/or tablet almost every day. Carry on because a new study, Smarter every day: The deceleration of population ageing in terms of cognition, suggests that using computers and smartphones can actually slow down cognitive decline.
The study compared the results of intelligence tests performed on people aged 50 and over in 2006 and in 2012, and found that those using computers and smartphones showed cognitive functioning to be equivalent of someone four to eight years younger.
While, across the board, humans are getting smarter and our brain function improving – a phenomenon called the Flynn effect that has been attributed to education, nutrition and other causes – this study focused on the impact of technology on older brains.
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The study authors qualify their conclusion, noting that the factors mentioned above could have affected the results, they conclude that the use of computers and smartphones does make a difference.
Study author Valeria Bordone says, “In many cases 52-year-olds from 2006 had the same score as 60-year-olds from 2012. The levels of education hadn’t changed much among these two populations, but we could see that their use of computers and mobile phones had changed quite a bit.”
The researchers suggest that video games and other software programs can help keep multi-tasking skills and attention spans high as we age.
According to another study, smartphone users even have “an enhanced thumb sensory representation in the brain” — that means using your phone and tablet keeps your thumbs young too!
Do you spend more time on your phone, tablet or computer? Is it mostly for recreation or work?