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Older brains make good use of 'useless' information
Date:1/20/2010

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."


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Contact: Kelly Connelly
kconnelly@baycrest.org
416-785-2432
Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care
Source:Eurekalert

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