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It’s tempting to believe it’s solely a youngster’s world; by investing in every new strategy for doing things, every new device invented and every new trend in popular culture, the maturing population gets left behind.
If your neuroscience will be believed then this aging amongst us have plenty to contribute, apart from the occasional word of wisdom, old expression, and birthday gifts to your grandchildren!
Actually, aging brains ought to be a valued asset in all works of life – including business – and that is particularly important as the the age of retirement creeps up.
The aging process from the brain
The usual understanding has always suggested that as we grow older, our minds decline. We certainly become more susceptible to memory loss plus a difficulty in focusing, as well as atrophy, or lack of brain volume. This will impair a chance to concentrate and make good decisions.
But cognitive neuroscience can use advanced scanning and imaging to color a clearer picture of what is occurring within our brains as we get older; these methods allow neuroscientists to track closely what happens within the brain during particular activities as well as the neuro-imaging data reveals patterns of change as people age.
The research suggests that scientists could possibly have under-estimated the power of the maturing brain.
As an alternative to going through a gradual decline as our bodies age, mental performance retains some ‘plasticity’ or ‘malleability’; this essentially means that our brain can easily still form new neural pathways and ‘reorganise’ itself, recruiting different regions of the brain to execute different tasks. This was previously thought to be possible simply for younger brains.
A survey by Angela Gutchess, published in Science magazine in October 2014 said the subsequent:
"Cognitive neuroscience has revealed aging with the mind being abundant in reorganization modify. Neuroimaging results have recast our framework around cognitive aging from of decline to 1 emphasizing plasticity… thus we start to see that aging with the brain, amidst interrelated behavioral and biological changes, can be as complex and idiosyncratic because brain itself, qualitatively changing over the life time."
Implications for organisations
The fermentation human brain is more flexible than ever before thought; we can learn new ideas, form new habits, and alter behaviour; there is absolutely no reason therefore that individuals can’t promote and stay associated with change as an alternative to merely get swept along because of it as we grow older.
The key usually lie in providing stimulating environments, we all know that even aging brains respond positively to the correct external stimulation.
Are senior employees really stuck inside their ways? Do they really benefit from training, motivation, and stimulation just as much as new employees? You could teach a vintage dog new tricks?
Some evidence in tests on rodents signifies that new learning which stimulates environments boost the survival of latest neurons from the brain. This might have far-reaching implications for your environments we expose the elderly to, and offer cause of consideration regarding their roles in organisations.
As well as retaining the potential to change and adapt, aging brains have some other advantages over youthful brains.
A US study by Heather L. Urry and James J. Gross recently revealed that aging brains be more effective capable to regulate and control emotions as an example:
"Older age is normatively associated with losses in physical, cognitive, and social domains. Despite these losses, seniors often report higher amounts of well-being compared to younger adults. How should we explain this enhancement of well-being? Specifically, we propose that older adults achieve well-being by selecting and optimizing particular emotion regulation methods to atone for changes in external and internal resources."
So regardless of whether cognitive decline does take place in senior years, you will find the potential of positive results in social and emotional areas that ought to be valued and harnessed by organisations.
Instead of centering on that which you lose as we grow older, for example hearing, vision, and cognitive ability, perhaps we need to investigate much more about the results of getting older. Because retirement increases from the coming years, this can be crucial!
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