大脑迷思:年龄如何影响人的记忆?

2021年1月15日
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通常,人们认为年纪越大,记忆力越差,经常容易忘事。但实际上,变差的只是短时记忆力,而记忆力的其他一些方面,反而会随年龄增长而提升。记忆力与年龄的关系,究竟如何?

大脑迷思:年龄如何影响人的记忆?

Everyone Knows Memory Fails as You Age. But Everyone Is Wrong

每个人都以为年龄越大记忆力越差,但大家都错了

Short-term memory contains the contents of your thoughts right now, which is easily disturbed or disrupted. It depends on your actively paying attention to the items that are in the “next thing to do” file in your mind. Our ability of the short-term memory declines slightly with every decade after 30.

短期记忆包含你当下正在思考的内容,它很容易受到干扰或中断,取决于你能否积极关注脑海中“下一件要做之事”。30岁以后,我们的短期记忆力每十年会略有下降。

But age is not the major factor so commonly assumed. Some aspects of memory actually get better as we age. For instance, our ability to extract patterns, regularities and to make accurate predictions improves over time because we’ve had more experience. If you’re going to get an X-ray, you want a 70-year-old radiologist reading it, not a 30- year-old one.

人们通常认为年龄是主要因素,但其实不然。实际上,随着年龄的增长,记忆的某些方面反而会加强。例如,随着时间的推移,我们的经验愈加丰富,因而提炼模式、识别规律以及做出准确预测的能力会提高。当你要拍X光片时,相较于一位30岁的放射科医生,你更希望一位70岁的医生为你读片。

So how do we account for our subjective experience that older adults seem to fumble with words and names?

那么要如何解释我们的主观经验,即为什么老年人似乎常常想不起一些词或是名字?

First, there is a generalized cognitive slowing with age — but given a little more time, older adults perform just fine.

首先,随着年龄的增长,人的认知能力会普遍下降;但如果多给老年人一点时间,他们的认知表现也挺好。

Second, older adults have to search through more memories than do younger adults to find the fact or piece of information they’re looking for. Your brain becomes crowded with memories and information. It’s not that you can’t remember — you can — it’s just that there is so much more information to sort through.

其次,相较于年轻人,老年人需要从更大的记忆库中搜寻到他们想要的事实或信息。老年人脑中充满了各种回忆和信息,他们并不是记不起来,只是脑子里有太多信息需要梳理。

And experiencing new things is the best way to keep the mind young, pliable and growing — into our 80s, 90s and beyond.

那么,要想大脑保持年轻、灵活,一直到八九十岁甚至更老,最好的方法就是去不断体验新事物。

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