Why words become more difficult to remember as we age begins to become clear

Why words become more difficult to remember as we age begins to become clear

Even though our vocabulary continually grows throughout our lives, we find it increasingly difficult to have the right words ready at the right time as we age.

The reason for this seems to underlie is that the networks in the brain are the ones that change their communication over time , as revealed in a new study carried out by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Brain and Cognitive Sciences and the University from Leipzig.

Different brain activities

The researchers scrutinized these connections with the help of two groups: the youngest study participants between the ages of 20 and 35 and the oldest between the ages of 60 and 70. Both groups were asked to name words on the MRI scanner. magnetic belonging to certain categories, including animals, metals or vehicles.

The youngsters were faster. The reason for this could be different brain activities. On the one hand, it was not only the language areas themselves that were more active in the youngest. They also showed a more intense exchange within two decisive networks: the semantic memory network , in which factual knowledge is stored, and the executive network , which is responsible for general functions such as attention and memory.

Why these activity patterns change with age has not yet been fully explained. One theory, according to Sandra Martin , first author of the study, is that as people age, they trust more in the linguistic knowledge they have, so exchanges between networks become more focused, while younger people trust their memory more. rapid work and cognitive control processes.