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Article Review: Memory weakens but steadies with age, study finds by McGrath (2013)

Updated on July 5, 2017

McGrath, P. (2013). Memory weakens but steadies with age, study finds. Health check, BBC World Service, 25 August 2013.

In this article, contrary to many people’s perception of cognitive decline being associated with old age, the author, McGrath quite finds the reverse. The author derives findings from a German study pointing out older people as being consistent in memory tests though younger ones have a higher test scores. In respect to these findings, the author argues that in some circumstances, this makes older people to be more desirable workers than their younger counterparts owing to their steady memory. Among the jobs which these older people could be good at according to the author include those requiring maximum performance such as bartenders at a club, stock market brokers, and other places with minimal distractions. Other jobs where many older adults could easily fit as per the author are manufacturing and other routine jobs. McGrath observes that in workplaces, there is a tendency for older adults being more careful, cautious because of their steady memory. Furthermore, there is a tendency for older adults to incorporate strategies that assist them in copying with perceived or inherent lapses in memory. On the other hand, young adults could work well under multi-tasking, pressure or jobs that require frequent distractions. In addition, although many younger adults may presume to have a faster reaction time, particular younger ones, what they have is an overconfidence issue.

The analysis by McGrath is also confirmed by various other studies which articulate that older workers are different from young adults in different ways. These can be psychological, physical, social and emotional dimensions (Bender, et al, 2010). However, despite some cases placing older workers at a disadvantage such as poor physical ability, poor eye side, or their susceptibility to environmental risks, some changes related with age can actually improve performance and capability at work. Among these is the crystallized knowledge that has been stored and accumulated over time and mostly contrasted with fluid knowledge that harbors a positive impact which could be greater for an older adult than a younger worker (Mufson et al, 2012). Therefore, some aspects of cognitive abilities for older adults could be more enhanced compared to that of the younger adults.


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