Age no bar to quick decision making

Age is no bar to quick decision making. Older people can be trained to respond faster in decision-making tasks even though ageing brains seem to slow down, reveals a study.

"Many people think that it is just natural for older people’s brains to slow down as they age, but we’re finding that isn’t always true," said Roger Ratcliff, professor of psychology at Ohio State University and study co-author.

"At least in some situations, 70-year-olds may have response times similar to those of 25-year olds,” he said, the journal Child Development reported.

Ratcliff and his colleagues have been studying cognitive processes and aging for nearly a decade. They have extended their work to children, according to a university statement.

Ratcliff said their results in children are what most scientists would have expected. The result showed very young children to have slower response times and poorer accuracy compared to adults, and these improve as they mature.

But an interesting finding suggests that older adults do not necessarily have slower brain processing than younger people, said Gail McKoon, Ratcliff's counterpart at Ohio University, according to a university statement.

“Older people don’t want to make any errors at all, and that causes them to slow down.  We found that it is difficult to get them out of the habit, but they can with practice,” McKoon said.

“If you look at aging research, you find some studies show older people are not impaired in accuracy, but other studies that show that older people do suffer when it comes to speed.  What this model does is look at both studies to reconcile the results,” said Ratcliff.

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