26 October 2011

We all get wiser over 55?

The Daily Mail was delivered to us in error last Friday, so made an interesting read as it's quite different from The Daily Telegraph.  In it, I noticed Tom Utley was discussing the theory propounded by Dr Oury Monchi, of the Institute of Geriatrics at the University of Montreal, that 'we all get wiser over 55'.
Dr Oury Monchi

Apparently over a certain age the brain works much slower but more logically, so reaches the same conclusions as younger people, using much less brain energy.

I can't really see much advantage in using less brain energy if it takes more time to solve a problem.  What are we going to do with the brain energy we've saved?  Surely it's more advantageous to be young and more quick-witted.  Chess players, mathematical geniuses and theoretical physicists tend to hit their most brilliant in the 20s (Einstein was only 26 when he gave us E = Mc2). 

The young knock spots off us over 55s when it comes to imagination, mental agility and intellectual problem-solving, although, strangely, cryptic crosswords seem to be an exception to that rule.

Apparently, we don't grow more intelligent as we grow older, although wisdom increases with age, owing more to experience.  After all, you don't have to be bright to be wise.  We oldies have other wisdom to impart, gleaned not from personal experience but simply from the general knowledge of the world.

For example, don't post a photograph of yourself baring your bottom on a social networking site.  You may think it hilarious as you tumble out of the nightclub at 18.  But you won't find it half so  funny when it's plastered all over the red-tops on the day you apply for that bishopric at 55.  

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