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Improving Brain Skills in Older Adults Can Lead to Positive Personality Changes

A study published in Psychology and Aging has revealed that by improving their brain skills, older adults become more open and receptive to new experiences.

A recent article on CNN.com reported on the study that included 183 older adults between the ages of 60 and 94. Half of the participants took part in a home-based program that was designed to improve their inductive reasoning skills, while the other half were part of the control group. Those in the training group worked on self-guided materials that included tests for recognizing patterns in numbers and letters, crossword puzzles, and Sudoku puzzles. The material was designed to challenge participants, but not overwhelm them.

Elizabeth Stine-Morrow, of the University of Illinois and the lead researcher of the study, said, “The hallmark of this program is that [the seniors] were learning a concrete skill and they could see this in their test performance.” She also said that it’s a good idea for seniors to put themselves in situations where they learn new things in a way that doesn’t overwhelm them.

In the article, Stine-Morrow offered the following advice to older adults, “So stay somewhat in your comfort zone, but push on the boundaries a little bit. And that in turn is likely to make you more comfortable with new experiences, so ideally this could be a sort of self perpetuating process.”

We whole-heartedly agree with her advice!