Stevie Martin | Staff Writer | Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Great News: You Don\'t Necessarily Mentally Peak At 20 - We All Peak At Different Ages!

Great News: You Don't Necessarily Mentally Peak At 20 - We All Peak At Different Ages!

The Debrief: 'At any given age, you’re getting better at some things, you’re getting worse at some other things' says new research. Which we think is way better than 'You're already dying the moment you hit 21'

For years we've been subtly told - whether it's through sciencey articles, general chat, or charting female careers - that we're in our prime in our twenties and it's all downhill from there. Well, turns out that this is a fallacy. According to a huge new study, it turns out that different mental abilities peak at different points; you could have peaked aged 20, sure, but you could also peak at age 60, which is the first good news about ageing we've heard in a long while. 

According to the British Psychological Society Research Digest: 'The new findings challenge the long-received wisdom in psychology that abilities related to "fluid intelligence" or thinking on your feet, peak at around age 20 and decline inexorably thereafter.'. Hear that? CHALLENGE. 

Researchers used games websites Gameswithwords.org and Testmybrain.org to gather data on tens of thousands of people, testing them on a variety of things from emotional intelligence to measuring visual working memory. Turns out, your ability to identify other people's emotions peaks between the ages of 40 to 60, vocabulary ability peaks in the late 60s / early 70s, visual working memory peaked at 25 and working memory for numbers peaked in the early to mid-30s. Let's not discuss the fact that mental agility peaks at 18, okay? Great. 

'At any given age, you’re getting better at some things, you’re getting worse at some other things, and you’re at a plateau at some other things,' researcher Joshua Hartshorne told MIT News. 'There’s probably not one age at which you’re peak on most things, much less all of them.' 

Way more heartening than the previously held belief that we're all declining the moment we enter into our third decade, and nice to think that we've got some stuff to look forward to that's more than eating Werther's Originals and chilling out all day. Oh wait that sounds awesome too. Well now we can look forward to eating Werther's Originals, chilling out all day, and exercising our increased capacity for vocabulary. 

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Tags: Science Says