Oh Dear: New Study Claims That Our Brains Peak At 24

According to a research team at Simon Fraser University, your brain hits a major peak at 24. Think about that for a moment: your cognitive motor performance is all downhill after your early-20s.

Researchers published the glum news in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. The team wanted to know when our motor skills start to decline due to age, and how we manage to make up for that. To do this, they turned to the game StarCraft 2. (Apparently, I’ve been living under a rock, because I never recognize any game titles ever. Apparently, it’s “a ruthless competitive intergalactic computer war game that players often undertake to win serious money,” so I’ll assume this is a game that a lot of people play.) The digital performance records of 3,305 StarCraft 2 players, age 16-44, were analyzed based on thousands of hours’ worth of play.

The records have a history of people’s cognitive-based moves within the game, as well as data on their skill levels. The team measured how long players took to respond to their opponents, which is when they discovered that people older than 24 were on the decline. That said, players who are 25 and up aren’t ready to be put out to pasture just yet. As their motor skills worsen, they rely on simpler game methods and can use the game’s interface (like having a better hold on nifty shortcuts) better than younger folks, which allows them to stay in the game.

So, I suppose the lesson here is that even though we’re getting older, we’re not entirely doomed – as long as we know what we’re good at and our willing to go with the flow. I’ll try to cling to that as I count the days left of my “peak” years.


[Image of a young woman thinking via Shutterstock]