Baby Boomers’ Cognitive Functions Lower Than Previous Generations New Study Finds

In a nationwide study authored by OSU faculty researchers found that American baby boomers scored lower on a test for cognitive functioning than previous generations had.

Specifically, findings discovered that average cognition scores of adults at age 50 increased from one generation to the next. The data starting with the greatest generation (birth years 1890-1923) and peaking with war babies (1942-1947).

Cognitive scores declined starting with early boomers (1948-1953) and decreased even further with mid boomers (1954-1959).

Even though a prevalence of dementia has declined recently in the U.S. the new study results suggest this trend could reverse in the coming years.

Researchers pointed out that while this “sudden” reversal is shocking, the most shocking fact is that the data of decline holds true over many groups—in both men and women, across all races, across education levels and across income levels.

The data demonstrated that less wealth in addition to higher levels of loneliness, depression, inactivity and obesity along with less likelihood of being married all could play a role in this cognitive decline.


Study on How Kids Remember Things from OSU

In adults it is most typical for memories to become foggy or forgotten over time; however, a new study concludes that for children remembering works differently. For children time actually increases the strength of memory. In other words, they remember things better a few days after they learn something than the day they learned it.

Part of the study observed children playing a video game that asked them to remember associations between objects, 4- and 5-year-olds who re-played the game after a two-day delay scored more than 20 percent higher than kids who re-played it later the same day.

Kevin Darby, a doctoral student in psychology at The Ohio State University is a co-author of the study.

The study, which will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science, is the first to document two different but related cognitive phenomena simultaneously: so-called “extreme forgetting” – when kids learn two similar things in rapid succession, and the second thing causes them to forget the first – and delayed remembering – when they can recall the previously forgotten information days later.

The study suggests that kids may have difficulty remembering things in the moment, but given a few days to absorb the new information, they can remember it later.

The authors cautioned that the study does not in any way suggest that kids can absorb adult-sized quantities of information if only they are given time to sleep on it. Rather, it means that they can absorb kid-sized quantities of information given time, even if they seem to forget in the moment.

This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Jody Victor‘s Crew