July 13, 2005

age and learning

I always thought that as you keep growing in age, people lose their ability to adapt to new technological changes. Doctors, who were born and brought up in the pre-computer time, are literally scared of them. Not just that I have seen people getting scared of i-pods or even scientific calculators. It is never a problem for a 10-year old to use it, but try giving something like that to a 50-year old and you'll hit a wall, more of a mental block I would say. People say that you lose the ability to learn as you grow older. What I find amusing is that there are possibly some cluster of cells in the brain which decide your ability to 'learn'. Now it is also possible that on the whole, the cells find it more difficult to store more information, due to the growing age. But since there are a lot of simple things that people learn after their 50's, I think the abitlity of cells to form links with others decreases. In other words, the links which are probably some charged ions, lose the capacity to hold more than a specific amount of charge, so the link would exist, but in a very weaker state, so that when accesed, fall below a threshold where we could say complete linkage.

What sparked off the debate in my head was a colleague of mine. She must be approaching her fifities, managed a lot of projects for us, used to be a programmer a long time back. But today she discovered, that you could add new emoticons to MSN messenger. And kept smiling like a 10-year old girl. People are so full of surprises, it just makes life interesting.