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People do not become dumber with age

Foto: Scanpix
People do not become loose their mental capacity due to old age, according to a Norwegian research project which has followed 100 persons for nearly 70 years.

The results from the Norwegian research project indicate that elderly people keep their intellectual capacity until they reach 80.

“Of course, there are individual differences, but generally speaking, age does not change the way you for example, function mentally in working life,” said Per Kristian Haugen, psychology expert at the Norwegian Centre for Dementia Research, to the daily Dagsavisen.

Haugen has concluded the research project which the now deceased Psychologist Sol Seim started in 1939.

She researched the mental capacity of one hundred 13-year-olds at a school in Bergen. The group was tested again in 1956, 1984, 1994 and 2001. This is the first time a group has been research for such a long period of time. The results are published in the book “Aldring og hjernesykdommer.”

The research indicates that one third of the people functioned at the same level when they turned 74 as they did at 58. The majority experienced a minor decline of mental capacity, while a minority experienced larger changes.

“Language and language understanding are properties that do not change to a large degree,” Haugen said. “The greatest difference between young and old people appears when individuals are faced with tasks that require that the person does things in a new way and reacts quickly. In other words, situations which require more than just experience.”

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