Learning New Skills Keeps an Aging Mind Sharp

The study is particularly noteworthy given that the researchers were able to systematically intervene in people’s lives, putting them in new environments and providing them with skills and relationships.

For much more on this and other brain-related subjects check out  – Important facts about your brain.

Tony

Cooking with Kathy Man

Older adults are often encouraged to stay active and engaged to keep their minds sharp, that they have to “use it or lose it.” But new research indicates that only certain activities — learning a mentally demanding skill like photography, for instance — are likely to improve cognitive functioning.

These findings, forthcoming in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, reveal that less demanding activities, such as listening to classical music or completing word puzzles, probably won’t bring noticeable benefits to an aging mind.

“It seems it is not enough just to get out and do something—it is important to get out and do something that is unfamiliar and mentally challenging, and that provides broad stimulation mentally and socially,” says psychological scientist and lead researcher Denise Park of the University of Texas at Dallas. “When you are inside your comfort zone you may be outside of the…

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