A Comforting Thought

The brains of older people only appear to slow down because they have so much information to compute, much like a full-up hard drive, scientists believe.
The Telegraph

I’m not sure I believe it, but it is a comforting thought.


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16 Responses to A Comforting Thought

  1. Rummuser says:

    Ah, it makes sense now. Thank you for giving me some comfort too.
    Rummuser´s last blog post ..Racism? Much Ado About Nothing.

  2. nick says:

    I’ve been saying that for a long time, and it makes perfect sense. I mean, if I have 66 years’ worth of data stored in my brain, of course the retrieval process is going to slow down dramatically. And goodness knows what will happen when everyone lives to 100. We’ll all be incapable of remembering our own names.
    nick´s last blog post ..Wot, no kids?

    • bikehikebabe says:

      It’s probably true that– Darn I forget what I was going to say.

    • Jean says:

      I’m guessing we retrieve things faster if we’ve thought about them recently. That’s why married people often have better memories than single people. They talk about memories more, gradually pull more and more out of their collective memories, and piece them together. Then if the subject comes up again, it’s fresher in their memories. I also think that the internet is a boon for people who check facts, get more information, make their associations richer.

    • bikehikebabe says:

      If I ever want to recall a memory I ask Tom. Our families were friends & he was a good friend of my brother & cousins growing up.

    • Jean says:

      That’s nice to have shared so many past experiences.

    • nick says:

      That’s an interesting idea that married couples might have better memories than singles. Not sure how to test it though, other than stalking a single person for 24 hours!

  3. Evan says:

    I suspect this is true of the ‘young old’ rather than the ‘old old’ (over80’s or so).
    Evan´s last blog post ..An Update from Evan

  4. Evan says:

    One of the problems with a quantitative model like this is connections.

    We remember by associating. If you have learned a language with almost no commonality with your first language (say an English speaker learning Mandarin or Hindi or Hebrew) you will have experienced learning enough words to be able to remember other words. Once you have a few words that relate to each other it becomes easier to remember those words and words that relate to them – and so on. You need a few words for the language to start ‘making sense’; then it is easier to remember.
    Evan´s last blog post ..An Update from Evan

    • Jean says:

      I agree with that. I think of it a creating hooks so that other facts have something to latch onto. It’s similar to reading complicated instructions or science papers. Just keep reading until something makes sense, then build from there.

  5. Cathy in NZ says:

    I can’t see how your comment that the “single person” has less memories or data stored!

    Maybe I should stop stockpiling data through studying obscure subjects in relationship to something I have no memory of – because I was never there in the very early centuries of life and living…
    Cathy in NZ´s last blog post ..Sea Creature caught in NZ

    • Jean says:

      That’s a generality, of course, and presumably it’s not just about marriage or non-marriage. It’s just that the more you access memories and get more information, the more you’re apt to remember them in the future. Talking or writing about subjects starts engaging our subconscious mind, and often we’ll remember things later. For me looking things up on the internet does a similar thing.

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