BRAIN response times can be just as fast in the elderly as in the young.

By Jo Willey – The Express

Both children and the elderly have slower response times when they have to make quick decisions in some ­settings, but the latest research suggests that much of that slower response on adults is a conscious choice to emphasise accuracy over speed. However, healthy older people can be trained to respond faster in some decision-making tasks without hurting their accuracy – meaning their cognitive skills in this area are not so different from younger adults.

Ohio State University researcher Professor Roger Ratcliff said: “In some situations, 70-year-olds may have response times similar to those of 25-year-olds. Many people think that it is just natural for older people’s brains to slow down as they age but we’re finding that isn’t always true.”

Fellow author Gail McKoon said: “Older people don’t want to make any errors at all and that causes them to slow down. We found that it is difficult to get them out of the habit but they can with practice.”