A new book by science writer Barbara Strauch examines a number of studies that show our brains reaching their peak between our 40's and 60's. In The Secret Life of the Grown Up Brain, Strauch looks at the Seattle Longitudinal Study, among others, which followed 6,000 people since 1956 and tested them every 7 years. It found that the study participants did better on a variety of cognitive tasks in middle age than they did in their 20's, particularly in vocabulary, spatial skills, verbal memory, and solving problems. Alas, we did less well with math and perceptual reflexes.
Strauch is the health and medical science editor and a deputy science editor at The New York Times. She previously wrote about teenage brains in The Primal Teen: What the New Discoveries About the Teenage Brain Tell Us About Our Kids, another good read for parents.
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