ScienceDaily (Dec. 27, 2011) — Both children and the elderly have slower response times when they have to make quick decisions in some settings. But recent research suggests that much of that slower response is a conscious choice to emphasize accuracy over speed.
In fact, healthy older people can be trained to respond faster in some decision-making tasks without hurting their accuracy -- meaning their cognitive skills in this area aren't so different from younger adults.
"Many people think that it is just natural for older people's brains to slow down as they age, but we're finding that isn't always true," said Roger Ratcliff, professor of psychology at Ohio State University and co-author of the studies.
"At least in some situations, 70-year-olds may have response times similar to those of 25-year olds."