Older people take longer to recognise faces and are less accurate, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Glasgow.
Dr Guillaume Rousselet and a team from the university’s Department of Psychology took a team of 33 volunteers, aged between 22 and 70, and showed them a series of pictures of different faces.
While the participants were looking at the faces, the researchers studied the electrical activity of their brains.
They found that on average, the older people needed 47 milliseconds more to identify the faces that were put in front of them.
These latest results build on previous findings which indicated an age-related delay in ‘face processing’.
“Our data supports the common belief that as we get older we get slower,” said Dr Rousselet.
“Beyond this general conclusion, our research provides new tools to quantify by how much the brain slows down in the particular context of face perception.”
“Now, we need to identify the reasons for the speed reduction and for the heterogeneity of the effects – indeed, why the brains of some older subjects seem to tick as fast as the brains of some young subjects is at this point a complete mystery.”
The paper was published in the BMC Neuroscience journal.