Magazine article USA TODAY

Memory Starts Declining by Mid 20s. (Aging)

Magazine article USA TODAY

Memory Starts Declining by Mid 20s. (Aging)

Article excerpt

People in their 20s don't usually complain about forgetting names or phone numbers, or having difficulty learning something new. Yet, that's when memory and mental energy first start to decline, according to psychologist Denise Park, who directs the Center for Aging and Cognition at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor. In studies of more than 350 men and women between the ages of 20 and 90, she found that mental aging is a slippery slope, with continuous declines in processing power starting as early as the 20s.

This gradual reduction in cognitive abilities is not really evident until the loss is substantial enough to affect everyday activities. "Younger adults in their 20s and 30s notice no losses at all, even though they are declining at the same rate as people in their 60s and 70s, because they have more capital than they need." she observes.

By the time people are in their mid 60s, Park says, the continuous decreases in cognitive abilities may become noticeable. Just when most people are becoming more frequent consumers of medical services, they begin to realize that they are having trouble remembering and learning new information.

Older people are much more susceptible to memory distortions such as the "illusion of truth" and the "paradox of repeated denial. …

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