A recent study by Dr Michael Ramscar and a team of linguistic researchers from the University of Tubingen, Germany have found that the older brain has accumulated so much information during the course of a lifetime, that it's simply slower because the brain has to sift through all that info to find the answer
Think that's funny youngsters? The news isn't good for you either. Memory begins to slip at age 25...and keeps on slipping. At 25 you've reached your prime. It's all downhill from there.
Now comes a new kind of challenge to the evidence of a cognitive decline, from a decidedly digital quarter: data mining, based on theories of information processing. In a paper published in Topics in Cognitive Science, a team of linguistic researchers from the University of Tübingen in Germany used advanced learning models to search enormous databases of words and phrases.
Since educated older people generally know more words than younger people, simply by virtue of having been around longer, the experiment simulates what an older brain has to do to retrieve a word. And when the researchers incorporated that difference into the models, the aging “deficits” largely disappeared
"The larger the library you have in your head, the longer it takes to find a particular word," says Dr Ramscar.
There are distinctions between Fluid intelligence and Crystallized intelligence:
Fluid intelligence is a person's short term memory
Crystallized intelligence is accumulated knowledge, vocabulary and expertise.
“In essence, what Ramscar’s group is arguing is that an increase in crystallized intelligence can account for a decrease in fluid intelligence,” said Zach Hambrick, a psychologist at Michigan State University. In a variety of experiments, Dr. Hambrick and Timothy A. Salthouse of the University of Virginia have shown that crystallized knowledge (as measured by New York Times crosswords, for example) climbs sharply between ages 20 and 50 and then plateaus, even as the fluid kind (like analytical reasoning) is dropping steadily — by more than 50 percent between ages 20 and 70 in some studies. “To know for sure whether the one affects the other, ideally we’d need to see it in human studies over time,” Dr. Hambrick said.
So there you go...It's not that you're slow. It's that you know so much!
No need to worry, you're not headed for the Seniors Home just yet.