It’s a hard pill to swallow, but if you’re over 24 years of age you’ve already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new Simon Fraser University study.
SFU’s Joe Thompson, a psychology doctoral student, associate professor Mark Blair, Thompson’s thesis supervisor, and Andrew Henrey, a statistics and actuarial science doctoral student, deliver the news in a just-published PLOS ONE Journal paper.
In one of the first social science experiments to rest on big data, the trio investigates when we start to experience an age-related decline in our cognitive motor skills and how we compensate for that.
The researchers analyzed 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.
Their performance records, which can be readily replayed, constitute big data because they represent thousands of hours worth of strategic real-time cognitive-based moves performed at varied skill levels.
Using complex statistical modeling, the researchers distilled meaning from this colossal compilation of information about how players responded to their opponents and more importantly, how long they took to react.
“After around 24 years of age, players show slowing in a measure of cognitive speed that is known to be important for performance,” explains Thompson, the lead author of the study, which is his thesis. “This cognitive performance decline is present even at higher levels of skill.”
But there’s a silver lining in this earlier-than-expected slippery slope into old age. “Our research tells a new story about human development,” says Thompson.
“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.”
For example, older players more readily use short cut and sophisticated command keys to compensate for declining speed in executing real time decisions.
The findings, says Thompson, 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.”
Thompson says this study doesn’t inform us about how our increasingly distracting computerized world may ultimately affect our use of adaptive behaviours to compensate for declining cognitive motor skills.
But he does say our increasingly digitized world is providing a growing wealth of big data that will be a goldmine for future social science studies such as this one.
Simon Fraser University is consistently ranked among Canada's top comprehensive universities and is one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 125,000 alumni in 130 countries.
Joe Thompson (White Rock resident), 604.367.7494 (cell), email@example.com
Mark Blair (Burnaby resident), 604.562.4963, firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Henrey, (Langley resident), 778.235.9147, email@example.com
Carol Thorbes, PAMR, 778.782.3035, firstname.lastname@example.org
Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.
Carol Thorbes | Eurek Alert!
High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg
Brain connectivity reveals hidden motives
04.03.2016 | Universität Zürich
3D printing revolutionized the manufacturing of complex shapes in the last few years. Using additive depositing of materials, where individual dots or lines...
R2D2, a joint project to analyze and development high-TRL processes and technologies for manufacture of flexible organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has been successfully completed.
In contrast to point light sources like LEDs made of inorganic semiconductor crystals, organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) are light-emitting surfaces. Their...
High resolution rotational spectroscopy reveals an unprecedented number of conformations of an odorant molecule – a new world record!
In a recent publication in the journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter...
Strands of cow cartilage substitute for ink in a 3D bioprinting process that may one day create cartilage patches for worn out joints, according to a team of engineers. "Our goal is to create tissue that can be used to replace large amounts of worn out tissue or design patches," said Ibrahim T. Ozbolat, associate professor of engineering science and mechanics. "Those who have osteoarthritis in their joints suffer a lot. We need a new alternative treatment for this."
Cartilage is a good tissue to target for scale-up bioprinting because it is made up of only one cell type and has no blood vessels within the tissue. It is...
Physicists in Innsbruck have realized the first quantum simulation of lattice gauge theories, building a bridge between high-energy theory and atomic physics. In the journal Nature, Rainer Blatt‘s and Peter Zoller’s research teams describe how they simulated the creation of elementary particle pairs out of the vacuum by using a quantum computer.
Elementary particles are the fundamental buildings blocks of matter, and their properties are described by the Standard Model of particle physics. The...
28.06.2016 | Event News
09.06.2016 | Event News
24.05.2016 | Event News
29.06.2016 | Life Sciences
29.06.2016 | Life Sciences
29.06.2016 | Earth Sciences