Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

We're over the hill at 24, study says

Date:
April 14, 2014
Source:
Simon Fraser University
Summary:
It's a hard pill to swallow, but if you're over 24 years of age you've already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new study. In one of the first social science experiments to rest on big data, the researchers investigate when we start to experience an age-related decline in our cognitive motor skills and how we compensate for that.

It's a hard pill to swallow, but if you're over 24 years of age you've already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new Simon Fraser University study.
Credit: Karramba Production / Fotolia

It's a hard pill to swallow, but if you're over 24 years of age you've already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new Simon Fraser University study.

Related Articles


SFU's Joe Thompson, a psychology doctoral student, associate professor Mark Blair, Thompson's thesis supervisor, and Andrew Henrey, a statistics and actuarial science doctoral student, deliver the news in a just-published PLOS ONE Journal paper.

In one of the first social science experiments to rest on big data, the trio investigates when we start to experience an age-related decline in our cognitive motor skills and how we compensate for that.

The researchers analyzed the digital performance records of 3,305 StarCraft 2 players, aged 16 to 44. StarCraft 2 is a ruthless competitive intergalactic computer war game that players often undertake to win serious money.

Their performance records, which can be readily replayed, constitute big data because they represent thousands of hours worth of strategic real-time cognitive-based moves performed at varied skill levels.

Using complex statistical modeling, the researchers distilled meaning from this colossal compilation of information about how players responded to their opponents and more importantly, how long they took to react.

"After around 24 years of age, players show slowing in a measure of cognitive speed that is known to be important for performance," explains Thompson, the lead author of the study, which is his thesis. "This cognitive performance decline is present even at higher levels of skill."

But there's a silver lining in this earlier-than-expected slippery slope into old age. "Our research tells a new story about human development," says Thompson.

"Older players, though slower, seem to compensate by employing simpler strategies and using the game's interface more efficiently than younger players, enabling them to retain their skill, despite cognitive motor-speed loss."

For example, older players more readily use short cut and sophisticated command keys to compensate for declining speed in executing real time decisions.

The findings, says Thompson, suggest "that our cognitive-motor capacities are not stable across our adulthood, but are constantly in flux, and that our day-to-day performance is a result of the constant interplay between change and adaptation."

Thompson says this study doesn't inform us about how our increasingly distracting computerized world may ultimately affect our use of adaptive behaviors to compensate for declining cognitive motor skills.

But he does say our increasingly digitized world is providing a growing wealth of big data that will be a goldmine for future social science studies such as this one.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Simon Fraser University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Joseph J. Thompson, Mark R. Blair, Andrew J. Henrey. Over the Hill at 24: Persistent Age-Related Cognitive-Motor Decline in Reaction Times in an Ecologically Valid Video Game Task Begins in Early Adulthood. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (4): e94215 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0094215

Cite This Page:

Simon Fraser University. "We're over the hill at 24, study says." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140414172240.htm>.
Simon Fraser University. (2014, April 14). We're over the hill at 24, study says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140414172240.htm
Simon Fraser University. "We're over the hill at 24, study says." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140414172240.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins