After 24, cognitive motor skills begin to fall
If you are 24, you have already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, a study reveals.
In one of the first social science experiments to rest on big data, the researchers investigated when we start to experience an age-related decline in our cognitive motor skills and how we compensate for that.
"After around 24 years of age, players show slowing in a measure of cognitive speed that is known to be important for performance. This cognitive performance decline is present even at higher levels of skill," explained Joe Thompson, a psychology doctoral student at Simon Fraser University in Canada.
The researchers analysed the digital performance records of 3,305 StarCraft 2 players, aged 16 to 44.
StarCraft 2 is a ruthless competitive intergalactic computer war game that players often undertake to win serious money.
Using complex statistical modeling, the researchers found about how players responded to their opponents and more importantly, how long they took to react.
"Our research tells a new story about human development," Thompson added.
Older players, though slower, seem to compensate by employing simpler strategies and using the game's interface more efficiently than younger players, enabling them to retain their skill, despite cognitive motor-speed loss, the researchers noted.
The findings suggest that our cognitive-motor capacities are not stable across our adulthood, but are constantly in flux, and that our day-to-day performance is a result of the constant interplay between change and adaptation.
The paper was published in the journal PLOS ONE.
(Posted on 15-04-2014)