Memory Study Explains ‘Senior Moments’
Juggling severalِ mental activities atِ once canِ beِ a challenge forِ evenِ the brainiest among us, butِ for older adults multitasking isِ evenِ trickier.
Now neuroscientists haveِ figured outِ why theِ capability toِ multitask wanes withِ age.
The capacity toِ hold andِ manipulate information inِ the mind forِ a period ofِ time, knownِ asِ working memory, isِ the foundation ofِ allِ mental operations, fromِ followingِ the train ofِ a conversation toِ carrying outِ the complex tasks ofِ comprehension, learning andِ reasoning.
To learn moreِ aboutِ the brain networks involved withِ multitasking, scientists compared theِ working memory ofِ 40 healthy volunteers: halfِ whose average age wasِ 25, andِ half whoseِ average age wasِ 69.
The volunteers watched a picture ofِ a natural landscape andِ were asked toِ keepِ itِ inِ mind asِ their brains wereِ scanned usingِ functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
During thisِ period, whichِ lasted 14.4 seconds, theِ participants wereِ subjected toِ anِ interruption — anِ image ofِ a face popped up, andِ the volunteers wereِ asked toِ determine itsِ sex andِ age.
The team’s preliminary findings fromِ anِ upcoming study suggest thatِ suchِ problems withِ multitasking doِ not start atِ anyِ particular age butِ accumulate overِ time.
Multitasking isِ beingِ fed byِ a dramatic increase inِ the accessibility andِ variety ofِ electronic media andِ the devices thatِ deliver them, manyِ of whichِ areِ portable, Gazzaley noted.
The researchers areِ now exploring theِ potential ofِ software brain-training programs toِ helpِ older people improve theirِ ability toِ multitask.