It turns out that wisdom really does come with age, according to a study conducted by the University of Montreal.
The brains of those over 55 years of age are used more efficiently than their younger counterparts, scientists say.
According to researchers, the fact that younger people can come up with answers more quickly is not reflective of wisdom, but rather of inexperience.
Canadian scientists associated with the Institute of Geriatrics at the University of Montreal created two groups of test subjects, one younger and one older, and asked them to perform a variety of tasks while their brains were scanned.
Neuro-imaging scans revealed that younger participants, after making a mistake, activated several different parts of the brain to help them decide what to do next.
Older participants didn’t start thinking about what to do next until the game restarted, showing greater mental efficiency, according to the scientists.
“When the young participants made a mistake and had to plan and execute a new strategy to get the right answer, various parts of their brains were recruited even before the next task began,” study author Dr. Oury Monehi said.
“However, when the older participants learned that they had made a mistake, these regions were only recruited at the beginning of the next trial, indicating that with age, we decide to make adjustments only when absolutely necessary.”
“The older brain has experience and knows that nothing is gained by jumping the gun. We now have neurobiological evidence showing that with age comes wisdom and that as the brain gets older, it learns to better allocate its resources.”