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Older people are ‘less aware that they make mistakes’

But researchers at Trinity want to help them stay mentally sharp.

Image: Thinking via Shutterstock

AS PEOPLE AGE, they become less aware that they make mistakes, a new paper from Trinity College suggests.

Neuroscientists at TCD have found that people in their 70s are on average less aware of mistakes they make than younger people.

Researchers say that the findings may help develop better methods for helping older people keep mentally sharp.

The study, which has recently been published in a leading international journal, the Journal of Neuroscience, has shown how people in their 70s are on average less aware of mistakes they make than younger people, and this may make it harder for them to compensate for those mistakes.

The research also shows that the extent to which older people are aware of the errors they make can be improved by applying tiny electrical currents to the frontal regions of their brain.

The study of 106 people aged between 65 and 86 was conducted by Siobhan Harty, Professor of Psychology Ian Robertson and Dr Redmond O’Connell, Assistant Professor in Social Neuroscience, at the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience.

Dr O’Connell says that older people may not learn from their mistakes, leading to problems such as dementia, but

“We learn from our mistakes and if we don’t we run into problems.

“This finding may help us develop better methods for helping older people keep mentally sharp as they get older.”

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