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Seniors Can Think Just as Quickly as College Students

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While it’s generally assumed that our ability to think quickly diminishes as we age, a new study indicates that isn’t always so. In fact, the decision-making skills of older people can parallel even those of college students.

In results published in the current online issue of Child Development, research using word-accuracy testing and symbol-based cognitive testing found seniors who remain mentally healthy are potentially just as capable as younger people to think quickly without making mistakes.

Study co-author Roger Ratcliff, a professor of psychology at Ohio State University, said that while some aspects of mental processing do suffer with age, getting older does not necessarily mean losing one’s ability to think fast and well.

“The [previously prevailing] view was that all cognitive processes decline at the same rate as people age,” he said. “We’re finding that there isn’t such a uniform decline. There are some things that older people do nearly as well as young people.”

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