Navigation Links
Older brains make good use of 'useless' information

Toronto A new study has found promising evidence that the older brain's weakened ability to filter out irrelevant information may actually give aging adults a memory advantage over their younger counterparts.

A long line of research has already shown that aging is associated with a decreased ability to tune out irrelevant information. Now scientists at Baycrest's world-renowned Rotman Research Institute have demonstrated that when older adults "hyper-encode" extraneous information and they typically do this without even knowing they're doing it they have the unique ability to "hyper-bind" the information; essentially tie it to other information that is appearing at the same time.

The study, which appears online this week in the journal Psychological Science, was led by Karen Campbell, a PhD student in psychology at the University of Toronto, with supervision from Rotman senior scientist Dr. Lynn Hasher, a leading authority in attention and inhibitory functioning in younger and older adults.

"We found that older brains are not only less likely to suppress irrelevant information than younger brains, but they can link the relevant and irrelevant pieces of information together and implicitly transfer this knowledge to subsequent memory tasks," said Campbell.

In the study, 24 younger adults (17 29 years) and 24 older adults (60 73 years) participated in two computer-based memory tasks that were separated by a 10-minute break. In the first task, they were shown a series of pictures that were overlapped by irrelevant words (e.g. picture of a bird and the word "jump"). They were told to ignore the words and concentrate on the pictures only. Every time they saw the same picture twice in a row, they were to press the space bar. After completing this task and following a 10-minute break, they were tested on a "paired memory task" which essentially challenged them to recall how the pictures and words were paired together from the first task. They were shown three kinds of paired pictures preserved pairs (pictures with overlap words that they saw in the first task), disrupted pairs (pictures they saw in the first task but with different overlap words) and new pairs (new pictures and new words they hadn't seen before).

The older adults showed a 30% advantage over younger adults in their memory for the preserved pairs (the irrelevant words that went with the pictures in the first task) relative to the new pairs.

"This could be a silver lining to aging and distraction," said Dr. Hasher, senior scientist on the study. "Older adults with reduced attentional regulation seem to display greater knowledge of seemingly extraneous co-occurrences in the environment than younger adults. As this type of knowledge is thought to play a critical role in real world decision- making, older adults may be the wiser decision-makers compared to younger adults because they have picked up so much more information."


Contact: Kelly Connelly
Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care

Related medicine news :

1. Southridge Funds Facilitate Special Capital Distribution for Technest Shareholders
2. Smart Balance to Hold Special Meeting of Stockholders on January 21, 2010
3. HelpAge Staff Mobilizes for Older People Despite Challenges in Haiti
4. NUCRYST Announces Distribution of Supplemental Information In Connection with Special Meeting of Shareholders
5. AARP Foundation Establishes Relief Fund for Older Victims of Haiti Disaster
6. Hypertension linked to dementia in older women
7. United American Healthcare Corporation Announces Meeting Date and Record Date for Annual Meeting of Shareholders
8. Healthy older adults with subjective memory loss may be at increased risk for MCI and dementia
9. Older Antidepressant May Treat Heart Failure
10. Study links restless leg syndrome with erectile dysfunction in older men
11. NUCRYST Announces Further Adjournment of Special Shareholder Meeting
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... , ... CBD College is proud to announce that on November ... to its Diagnostic Medical Sonography program. CBD College is honored to join this very ... and universities in the state of California make the cut. CBD College is officially ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... in central Michigan, have come together on Thanksgiving Day to share the things ... for viewing on the Serenity Point YouTube channel, patients displayed what they wrote ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... NE (PRWEB) , ... November 26, 2015 , ... Jobs ... searched by healthcare professionals and offered by healthcare staffing agency Aureus Medical Group ... during the month of October 2015 among those searching for healthcare jobs through the ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... Indosoft Inc., developer and distributor ... application server to improve system efficiency and reliability. , The new Q-Suite 6 platform ... standards, the system avoids locking itself into a specific piece of software for many ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... been recognized once again for its stellar workplace culture with the company’s Cincinnati ... , Medical Solutions’ Cincinnati office was named a finalist in Cincinnati Business ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... WILMINGTON, N.C. , Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... announces the planned investment of at least $15.8 ... in Wilmington, NC . The ... services capacity to meet the growing demands of ... Wilmington site expansion will provide up ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015  Henry Schein, Inc., the ... to office-based dental, medical and animal health practitioners, will ... the Henry Schein ConnectDental® Pavilion , which brings ... of open solutions designed to help any practice or ... here for a schedule of experts appearing at ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015  Trovagene, Inc. (NASDAQ: TROV ), ... Chief Executive Officer Antonius Schuh, Ph.D., is scheduled to ... Annual Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference. th ... Palace Hotel in New York ... Mr. Schuh will be available for one-on-one meetings during ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: