Age-Related Inhibition and Learning Effects: Evidence from Transitive

Abstract

In the absence of sufficient cognitive stimulation, intelligence — and with it, a capacity for learning new things — tends to degrade with age. In this paper I explore a novel hypothesis: that this may be an adaptive solution, since learning is facilitated by temporarily inhibiting action selection and thus introducing temporal delays. An older animal that is not being cognitively challenged may be in a sufficiently stable environment that reducing the delay before action at the cost of also reducing learning capacity may be a sensible tradeoff. I support parts of this model by matching a simulation of it to known reaction-time results, and by providing an account for previously unexplained task-learning results in adult and aged macaques


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