When it comes to the cognitive decline of your brain, is 24 the new 50? A study shows that our cognitive-motor skills begin declining at a much younger age than previously thought.
Have you ever tried playing a new iPad game with your 8-year-old niece and realized that she was catching on much more quickly than you? While there's nothing to be scared of (we promise), our brains indeed start slowing down when we reach our mid-20s.
In a 2014 study in the journal PLOS One, researchers had 3,305 volunteers between the ages of 16 and 44 play StarCraft 2, a real-time strategy video game. They were trying to gauge whether more years of experience compensated for the age-related decline, creating what they called "over-the-hill intuition." In other words, does experience and wisdom make up for our brains slowing down?
The study explains that the choice of StarCraft 2 was an important one since it required the participants to make a "myriad of dynamic adjustments to ensure the implementation of a larger plan." While each player concentrated on multiple immediate tasks, they also formed a long-term strategy. When it came to overall performance on the game, the results were pretty predictable. As TIME explains, "the speed with which the volunteers made decisions, and shifted between tasks, declined with age." And the first signs of cognitive decline started at the ripe old age of 24.