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6 Ways Your Thought Changes as You Age

The unfortunate truth about growing old is that our body parts get older too. Most parts of the body begin to lose their functionality, especially the brain. As we know, the brain is responsible for our thought process. It is, therefore, natural that these age-related changes will affect the way we think.

To understand what to anticipate as we get older, we need to know how aging changes the way the brain manages memory, thinking, and other cognitive functions. This will help us understand the changes we’re going through, whether those changes are normal or not.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the ways our thought changes as we age.

Processing speed

The processing speed refers to the time it takes the brain to process information and provide a response. The response can be providing a verbal answer or performing an action. The processing speed affects every other function in the brain. It shows how quickly we can manage a mental task.

The processing speed decreases with age; you cannot compare the speed of a 20-year-old to that of someone in their 70s. It takes us more time to process information and come out with the appropriate response than when they are younger. As we age, we may begin to struggle with complex tasks that require lots of quick information processing.


Memory is the ability to remember information. There are different categories of memory – working memory, long term memory, prospective memory, etc. All these include the ability to hold information in mind and manipulate it mentally and the ability to remember to do things in the future.

Research has shown that many aspects of memory decline with age, especially the working and prospective memory. The implication of this is that we may have difficulty solving complex tasks, and become forgetful.


This means the ability to concentrate and focus on a particular thing despite the presence of other distractions. But like other cognitive abilities, the ability to pay attention decreases with age. It becomes more difficult for us to remain concentrated for an extended period. We are more easily distracted by noise, visual clutter, or busy situations.

Language skills

Language skill is the ability to understand and produce both verbal and written responses. Vocabulary and comprehension tend to remain stable with age. We retain their vocabulary and the ability to comprehend both written and spoken languages. Some of us, however may struggle with distorted speech.

Executive functioning

This refers to the mental skills needed for abstract thinking, problem-solving, planning, organizing, flexibility, and appropriate behavior. The mental abilities for executive functioning decline with age. We will take more time to deal with demanding executive functioning tasks.

Emotional processing

Emotional processing refers to the ways we process and regulate our thoughts and emotions. We tend to quickly move out of a negative emotional state and pay more attention to positive situations.

In conclusion, our brain and its functions change as we age, and this influences our thoughts. While some of our cognitive abilities improve, others become weaker. The more we can exercise our brains, the more likely we are to slow down the decline.

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