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Older Brains Better At Longer Term Strategy Games?

I have to say that this research The APS journal Psychological Science, the highest ranked empirical journal in psychology, made my heart sing!

Older Brains Better At Longer Term Strategy Games?

“Brains age and many research projects have shown younger minds perform better than older minds in tests of decision-making. But in a test where decisions at each step affected not only the immediate reward but also the size of future rewards eldery people beat college-age students in a mental game.

We make decisions all our lives—so you’d think we’d get better and better at it. Yet research has shown that younger adults are better decision makers than older ones. Some Texas psychologists, puzzled by these findings, suspected the experiments were biased toward younger brains.

So, rather than testing the ability to make decisions one at a time without regard to past or future, as earlier research did, these psychologists designed a model requiring participants to evaluate each result in order to strategize the next choice, more like decision making in the real world.”

“Perhaps older minds have decades of experiences where going for immediate rewards is no always optimal.”

“Older folks beat the young when a large advantage accrued from thinking ahead.”

“The older adults did better on every permutation.”

“Perhaps older minds have learned thru repeated trial-and-error that one should play a longer term game.”

Read the original research here:

Decision making changes with age — and age helps! .

With the evidence piling up that my son and daughter and there cohort are running rings around me I now can point to some evidence that I may have some gas left in my 57-year-old engine. This might also explain why I most enjoy working on long term change and developmental efforts versus monthly and quarterly goals!


Posted on: August 29, 2011, 7:02 am Category: Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. Wendy Newman said

    You have MADE MY DAY already, Stephen!

  2. Robert Noise said

    First they figure out our brains continue to learn and make new pathways as we age, now they have figured out we can make plans for the long game. You might think age had a worth in the wisdom game or something.

  3. Love this one. Susan