How Your Brain Grows

By Fred Foster – February 17, 2021
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Image by imaginima/GettyImages

Peak Performance Ages

Most of us are aware that, as we get older, we seem to remember less and start to think more slowly. Some people have speculated that our minds get full and that there comes a point when we simply can’t process much more new information.

Now, research has shown that human brainpower peaks at age 18. However, that doesn’t mean we should give up on learning as we hit different cognitive peaks throughout our lives, according to scientists. 

The research was carried out across several different age groups, ranging from just 10 years old to 90, and the results were published in Sage Journals. Tests included words, names, faces, mathematical problems, and the ability to remember each after a period of time.

MIT Professor and cognitive research scientist, Josh Hartshorne took on one the biggest studies ever, developing quizzes that people could share online, in order to get the largest amount of people possible and delve deep into our learning abilities beyond childhood.

Constantly Learning

One of the things he mentioned is that the brain is constantly learning something. It doesn’t matter how old you are, your memory might be declining slowly but you will be improving at something else, for instance, maths, where you don’t reach your peak until 50. Your vocabulary, for example, peaks at 67.

There were other interesting outcomes - you may struggle to learn unfamiliar names, but that’s because that skill peaks at 22, whereas recognizing faces doesn’t peak until 32. Your concentration reaches its peak at 43 and your ability to learn and understand new information reaches its high point at age 50. Your vocabulary is a work in progress until age 67 when it reaches its peak.

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