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Older adults value accuracy over speed

For years, there has often been an unfounded assumption that older adults are not quite as quick-thinking as their younger counterparts. However, results of a new study throw a wrench in the theory. Researchers have found that while older individuals may take longer to make a decision, it is often due to the emphasis they place on accuracy rather than speed, MSNBC.com reports.

Researchers led by Roger Ratcliff, co-author of the study and professor of behavioral and social sciences at Ohio State University, performed memory tests on more than 300 people of various ages. In the study, they quickly flashed a number of asterisks on a computer screen in front the participants. They were asked to decide whether they were shown a small or large number.

In a separated test, Ratcliff told the older participants to ignore accuracy, and when they did, they answered just as quickly as the younger ones.

"Older people don't want to make errors, so what they do is adopt a more conservative decision criteria and that slows them down," he explained.

While the study indicates that the ability to think quickly does not diminish with age, there are still certain lifestyle choices you can make to keep your mind sharp. According to WebMD.com, eating foods such as nuts, wild salmon and beans have all proven to have positive effects.

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