Researchers Discover That Your Brain’s Mental Speed Doesn’t Decline Until Your 60s

Researchers Discover Cognitive Processing Speed Does Not Decline Until Your 60s


Aging is natural, but it can inspire a level of anxiety. Will one's health decline? Will mental acuity slip? While every person will age differently, scientific studies have shown that metabolism does not drastically decline until after age 60. Now, a study by psychologists at Heidelberg University and published in Nature Human Behaviour suggests that cognitive processing speeds, or mental speeds, are similarly maintained until about age 60.

It was previously thought that cognitive processing peaked at age 20. To investigate its relation to aging, the authors of the study reevaluated existing data from over one million subjects in a previous American study. The subjects had been asked to respond to online tasks designed to measure implicit bias. However, this subject matter was not relevant to the mental acuity study. Instead, the researchers looked at how quickly subjects thought through and responded to prompts.

The team discovered—controlling for individual variations—that cognitive information processing speeds stay largely steady until an individual passes age 60, after which it declines with age. Though older individuals within that range often took longer to answer prompts, the team determined that this was due to increased levels of caution in decision making rather than mental swiftness. This good news is just one more piece of the puzzle for the science of aging, a very important field as population skews older due to demographic shifts.

A new study found that cognitive information processing, or mental speed, remains steady until one reaches their 60s.

Researchers Discover Cognitive Processing Speed Does Not Decline Until Your 60s

Photo: GOODLUZ/Depositphotos

h/t: [Good News Network]

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Madeleine Muzdakis

Madeleine Muzdakis is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a historian of early modern Britain & the Atlantic world. She holds a BA in History and Mathematics from Brown University and an MA in European & Russian Studies from Yale University. Madeleine has worked in archives and museums for years with a particular focus on photography and arts education. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, film photography, and studying law while cuddling with her cat Georgia.
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