Cognitive skills begin to drop at age 24

An MRI of a human brain. Credit: Getty Images
Your brain starts winding down a lot younger than you might think.
Credit: Getty Images

A Canadian study has found that the brain’s cognitive motor skills (how fast we process something and react to it) reach their peak at age 24, then decline from there.

Three researchers from Simon Fraser University studied a group of 3,305 players of “StarCraft 2,” a competitive computer game, and calculated their reaction times to opponents.

“After around 24 years of age, players show slowing in a measure of cognitive speed,” says lead author Joe Thompson. He and his colleagues printed their findings in the April 9 edition of the journal PLOS One.

It’s not all bad news though: We compensate for the slower speed by acquiring more strategy and savviness.

“The older player is slower than the younger player, but they can be equivalent players, so cunning does come into play,” associate professor Mark Blair told the Vancouver Sun.



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