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After 24, Cognitive Motor Performance Starts to Fall

Update Date: Apr 14, 2014 01:30 PM EDT

According to a new study, researchers are stating that if you are older than 24, you have already passed your prime. This study, conducted by researchers from Simon Fraser University (SFU) found that after the age of 24, people's cognitive motor performance skills start to decline.

In this study, the team composed of SFU's Joe Thompson, a psychology doctoral student, associate professor and Thompson's thesis supervisor, Mark Blair, and Andrew Henrey, a statistics and actuarial science doctoral student analyzed data on 3,305 participants. The participants were between the ages of 16 and 44. The data included participant's performance records when they played StarCraft 2, which is a competitive computer war game. The researchers examined the data on StarCraft 2 players because "they represent thousands of hours worth of strategic real-time cognitive-based moves performed at varied skill levels," according to Medical Xpress.

The researchers used complex statistical modeling and found that at around the age of 24, the player's cognitive speed started to decline. The older the player, the slower his/her reaction time became, which affected overall performance level. The researchers concluded that older player's performance levels started to decline relative to their own skill levels when they were younger. Despite being slower at the game, the researchers found that older players were capable of finding different ways of adapting while playing.

"Our research tells a new story about human development," stated 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."

He added, "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."

The findings were published in PLOS ONE.

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