We’re ‘over the hill’ by age 24, study says

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DENVER — This might surprise you, but a new study suggests we reach our peak in terms of cognitive motor performance by age 24. Researchers studied the actions of video game players.

A report in Science Daily says the study from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia investigated when we start to experience an age-related decline in our cognitive motor skills and how we compensate for that decline.

The results of the study were published in PLOS ONE Journal.

Researchers analyzed the performance of 3,305 players of the video game “StarCraft II” between the ages of 16 and 44. StarCraft II is a competitive intergalactic computer war game that some players undertake to try to win big money.

The study leaders say they chose this activity because the performance records represent thousands of hours’ worth of cognitive-based moves performed at many skill levels.

“After around 24 years of age, players show slowing in a measure of cognitive speed that is known to be important for performance,” explains Joe Thompson in the Science Daily report. He’s the lead author of the study, which is his thesis. “This cognitive performance decline is present even at higher levels of skill.”

Here’s the silver lining: The researchers found older players compensated by finding simpler strategies and using the game’s interface more efficiently than younger players.

This adaptation allows older players to maintain their skill in spited of their cognitive motor-speed loss.

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