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Why Do We Have Difficulty Remembering Words When We Grow Old?

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As you get older, it becomes increasingly difficult to remember past events, people we have known in the past, or even just words to say in a certain context. Why do we forget them, despite our vocabulary always enriches itself with new terms? These are communication problems.

A recent research conducted by the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in collaboration with the University of Leipzig has sought to find a ‘definitive’ answer to this question, analysing the brain activity of two groups of participants: one included people Both were asked to do the same thing: name random words related to animals, vehicles or more, while they were being subjected to magnetic resonance.

The first, clear signal was the fastest speed the youngest could find those words, activating more the linguistic areas of the brain and exchanging more information between the semantic network and the attentive-executive network. In the case of the second group, the opposite was true: the executive area was more active, demonstrating that the task for them was more difficult, while the exchange between the said networks was less effective.

The reason behind this change in activity, in fact, is not yet known in every detail. Nevertheless, some theories proposed by researchers claim that young people rely on fast working memory, that is the ability to maintain and manipulate information in the mind; or they talk about structural differences such as loss of gray matter in the brain. One thing is clear: communication within the neuronal networks of younger people is more efficient.

By remaining in the field of psychology, we had the opportunity to see why people believe in horoscopes; or again, we explained how much money it takes to be happy according to science.

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