A study out of Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany was conducted to discern the difference between how people learn differently at different ages. They found that as a person ages, perception declines, accompanied by augmented brain activity. Learning and training may ameliorate age-related degradation of perception, but age-related brain changes cannot be undone. Rather, brain activity is enhanced even further, but for other reasons and with different outcomes.
One experiment involving two needlepoints, showed that older participants perceived two points as a single event even when they were located quite far apart, whereas younger people were still able to distinguish them as two distinct points, which is evidence for degraded tactile perception at a higher age. This impaired perception experienced by older people goes hand in hand with a spatial enhancement of brain activity, which researchers generally interpret as a compensatory mechanism.
“Age-related degraded perception is not irreversible; rather, it can be improved through training and learning,” said one researcher. The researchers then asked, if age-related impaired perception can be restored, will the age-related expansion of brain activity be reduced as well. Said another way, can training and learning lead to a “rejuvenation” of the brain? The interesting part of this study was that instead of finding that in terms of learning processes and further enhancement of brain activity, older people function the same as younger people.
“The computer simulations explain how changed brain activity can have opposite effects on the level of perception. In addition, they explain the observation that the ‘treatment’ of aging processes does not reverse age-related brain changes, but rather remodels them.” Said one researcher. “They demonstrate that training and learning pay off at every age, in order to remain fit”
So, no matter your age, keep your brain fit.
Razi Berry, Founder and Publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review (ndnr.com) and NaturalPath (thenatpath.com), has spent the last decade as a natural medicine advocate and marketing whiz. She has galvanized and supported the naturopathic community, bringing a higher quality of healthcare to millions of North Americans through her publications. A self-proclaimed health-food junkie and mother of two; she loves all things nature, is obsessed with organic gardening, growing fruit trees (not easy in Phoenix), laughing until she snorts, and homeschooling. She is a little bit crunchy and yes, that is her real name.