Our brains never stop growing, and neither does our ability to learn. But while our ability to learn new things may seem never-ending, there is such a thing as learning speeds. We pick up a new language, skills, and facts at different rates, but at what age do we learn the most important things? One school of thought suggests we learn knowledge and memories at a faster pace when we’re younger and then slow down as we age. However, another school of thought suggests that we learn and retain information a little bit faster when we’re younger and then speed up slightly as we age. So, what’s the real story?
Ages 2 To 7: The Age That Matters for Brain Development
In a recent study, scientists took a closer look at the rate of informal learning, or what we might call learning speed, in 4- to 12-year-olds. The learning ability seen across individuals is positively correlated to the years of formal education. The learning ability of a 13-year-old is between that of a 4-year-old and a 20-year-old and develops faster in individuals belonging to the first two groups
It may surprise you that infants and toddlers learn much faster than we give them credit for. Their overall learning ability is shown to be at its highest level between the ages of four and twelve. Older children continue to show a positive correlation between learning ability and IQ score. However, their raw learning ability scores show a smaller increase until the age of thirteen, after which their learning performance starts to decline.
Intelligence Do Change as We Age
It seems that every generation thinks that it is the smartest generation that the world has ever seen, and the older generation thinks theirs was, and the younger one thinks they’re the smartest ever. But is this the case?
We dreamed of becoming astronauts, presidents, singers, doctors, and pilots as kids. But, as we grow older, we tend to stop learning things. We become busy with work, family, and life. The joy of learning seems to fade as we get older. But, just because we can’t become astronauts doesn’t mean we can’t learn new things. Adults have an advantage over kids when it comes to learning.
Check out the following and know the particular learning skill and other intelligence that you will gain when you reach this particular age:
Age 18: Detail-oriented and better brain processing power
According to an article published, our brain processing power and detail memory peak by 18. Young people tend to have higher IQs than their older counterparts, according to numerous studies, and as the brain continues to develop, IQs continue to rise. The reasoning behind this is that human brains continue to mature through adolescence, with the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for our executive functioning growing the most. The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that is responsible for self-control, planning, decision making, memory, and impulse control.
Age 22: Unfamiliar names becomes familiar
In a particular study published, in general, researchers looked at how the human brain learns new names. They found that for unfamiliar names, we peak around age 22. Once we get beyond age 22, learning new names becomes more difficult. The finding builds on previous experiments that found our ability to learn names drops as our brains age. Most people can remember a number of famous faces, but familiarity breeds contempt. However, the ease with which most adults can recall certain names is an indicator of their popularity, not their intelligence.
Age 32: You get better at recognizing a familiar face
Although it’s unlikely that you’ll find a new face every day, on average, our brains are able to learn and remember new faces shortly after our 30th birthday. However, the way it works is still a mystery, and scientists are beginning to crack the code.
Age 43: You get better at your concentration abilities
When you’re young, your brain is capable of working at a higher capacity. This increased focus means you can study better than your peers, memorize more words, and perform other feats of mental prowess. Your brain also seems to perform faster as you age, and this flexibility of thought allows you to tackle more complicated tasks or learn something new. However, your capacity to focus can decline as you get older.
Concentration is a strange phenomenon. Humans can concentrate for long periods of time, yet we don’t always work to improve our concentration. Concentration abilities peak around age 43, according to a recent study.
Age 48: You get better at recognizing other people’s emotions
From the age of 6, most of us are taught how to recognize emotions. We pick up cues like facial expressions and body language from friends and adults around us. But many of us don’t recognize that facial expressions are a form of non-verbal communication that can also be observed and communicated to others. In other words, we try our best to recognize emotions in other people. However, new research indicates that we are better at recognizing emotions in others who are the same age (ages 8 to 48) than when identifying emotions in those who are older (ages 48 to 81).
Age 50: Basic Arithmetic is just a piece of cake!
You made it to the big 5-0! Your kids are out of the house, and you’re just enjoying time alone, right? Wrong. Although 50 sounds old, it turns out your capabilities aren’t what they used to be. More specifically, your ability to do basic arithmetic peaks at age 50.
Age 67: You’re at the peak of your vocabulary skills
You’re actually in the midst of peak vocabulary abilities—and many experts believe it continues on until about age 67. Your vocabulary is at its peak during those years, enabling you to absorb and retain new words with ease. After age 67, your vocabulary starts to dwindle.
Our brains naturally become less responsive to new information as we get older. This phenomenon is known as age-related cognitive decline, and the decline typically starts after age 30. The good news is there are ways you can slow down or even reverse age-related cognitive decline. Through proper diet and exercise, increasing your intake of natural antioxidants, and performing mental exercises, you may be able to preserve your brain health well into your golden years.