For a Healthy Brain, Play the Long Game
Nothing keeps the mind healthy like an education, say psychologists. And contrary to past belief, recent research shows that new neural connections can be built well into middle age.
What's the Latest Development?
Psychologists are learning that the brain stays agile well into middle age, retaining the ability to learn new skill sets and take on different points of view by building new neural connections. And nothing is more important to maintaining a healthy brain than receiving an education, say psychologists. Up to age 75, mental tests demonstrate that 'people with college degrees performed on complex tasks like less-educated individuals who were 10 years younger.' In other words, learning keeps you young.
What's the Big Idea?
A greater understanding of intelligence has come to light in recent years which distinguishes between what psychologists refer to as fluid and crystallized intelligences. While fluid intelligence—memory and abstract thinking—peaks in your 20s, crystallized intelligence—inductive reasoning and judgement—continues to build until very late in life. Perhaps most encouraging of all is that the brain remains 'fluid' until much later than was previously thought, retaining the ability to forge new neural connections through new experiences.
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