Study Shows Older is Really Wiser

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5/10/2010
Kelly L. Rooth, Shareholder
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Study Shows Older is Really Wiser

New study shows that you may want to listen next time grandma wants to impart some words of wisdom: older really does equal wiser!

Studies have long shown that many cognitive skills decline with age. For example, older people do not process information as quickly as younger people.  Older people have lower “fluid intelligence scores” than individuals in their 20s through 50s, which indicates lower ability to analyze logical patters and perform abstract reasoning.  Older people are also more easily distracted. 

However, there is a new study that shows one cognitive area that clearly improves with age: wisdom.  The study from The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, conducted by Igor Grossman, a University of Michigan psychologist, indicated that “older people had wiser abilities to resolve conflicts.”  Even when the study controlled for differences in socioeconomic status and education level, the differences were significant.

The wisest 20 percent of individuals were nearly 65.  The average age of the less-wise was approximately 45 years old (totalling 80% of the group studied). 

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