x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Wisdom of the ages

New research into how our brains work offer some good news for the elderly – and the musical.

The latest medical research into brain function will be music to the ears of those who play an instrument. According to a study conducted by a team from the University of St Andrews in Scotland and published in the journal Neuropsychologia, people who play a musical instrument – both professionals and hobbyists – are more capable of identifying errors and correcting mistakes than the general population.

Meanwhile, another study, published in the journal Psychology and Aging and conducted by the School of Business Administration at the University of California, Riverside, has some good news for older people who fear they may be losing their cognitive ability.

The researchers found that while our brains work more slowly as we age, this is compensated for by our life experience. Older people who were tested for their financial literacy and loss-aversion skills performed as well, or better, than younger participants. This may help explain why we get better at balancing our personal budgets and saving money as we get older.

Putting the two findings together, perhaps the message to carry through to old age is: Keep calm and keep playing the piano.