Wisdom 'comes from brain slowing down in old age'
It's often said wisdom comes with age. Now, a new study has claimed that it actually comes from the brain slowing down in old age, making elderly people less impulsive and driven by emotion.Updated: Jun 26, 2010 15:55 IST
It's often said wisdom comes with age. Now, a new study has claimed that it actually comes from the brain slowing down in old age, making elderly people less impulsive and driven by emotion.
Researchers have based their findings on a series of experiments on 3,000 people aged between 60 and 100.
They found that elderly people can still learn new abilities but their brains are less dependent on "feel good" hormones making them appear less driven by emotion and impulsivity, 'The Daily Telegraph' reported.
Professor Dilip Jeste of the University of California, San Diego, was quoted by 'The Daily Telegraph' as saying, "The fact that older people are slower to respond than younger is widely seen as a disadvantage. But that's not always the case.
"The elderly brain is less dopamine-dependent, making people less impulsive and controlled by emotion. Older people also less likely to respond thoughtlessly to negative emotional stimuli as their brains have slowed down compared to younger people. This, in fact is what we call wisdom.
"MRI scans have also identified the four regions of brain that contribute to wisdom with old people demonstrating a higher level of activity between these regions than younger people."
Scans of elderly people's brains also found that their ability to learn new skills was undiminished despite their advancing age.
Prof Jeste added: "Probably the most exciting breakthrough in the last decade has been the finding that neuroplasticity, the ability to generate neurones and synapses, continues throughout an individual's life."
First Published: Jun 26, 2010 15:49 IST