back to article Oldsters: If you think you'll lose your memory, you will

Here's one for all those concerned at the prospect of advancing age gradually stripping away their, erm, wait, tip of my tongue - memory. Bad news: your ability to retain information will indeed disappear as you get older. But, in a cruel twist of fate, if you aren't concerned you'll be fine. Yes, you read that right. New …


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  1. Eddie Edwards

    Suggestion for a further experiment

    We should try this on young *and* old people. I suspect a strong correlation between what age one believes one is, and one's actual age. If so, this would prove that thinking one is young actually keeps one young, while thinking one is old would cause aging to occur.

    Ergo, we would have the evidence we need to strike back at a society that is constantly telling our old people, "you're old". It's amazing to think that the social consensus is actually responsible for aging and death and that - just by changing social attitudes - we can achieve racial immortality.

  2. James

    Yes ....

    I recently read this in "Teach Yourself Psychology" (Author Nicky Hayes) and published a few years back.

    In this she states that tests find that "oldsters" actually have better memory than youngsters unless they believe they don't! In other words we are being conned into believing that our memory gets worse with age (perhaps more overloaded!) - I write as a mid 50s oldster !. But youngsters just don't care about forgetting things!

    Since reading that I've stopped worrying about forgetting (still annoying though ! ).

    Now, I wonder where I left the book....

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    another interesting point...


    hang on, it'll come back to me in a minute.

    no. gone.

  4. Martin Lyne


    Reverse-placebo effect

  5. Britt Johnston
    Thumb Up

    just believe it

    This fits well with the low incidence of alzheimers amongst nuns :

    I've always felt that an important part of memory is learning to forget the irrelevant.

  6. The Fuzzy Wotnot


    Come on everyone knows that if you believe something, 9/10 it will come true. You think you're ill, you will eventually make yourself ill to fit those thoughts.

    I am convinced that unless I wear a hat on cold or windy days, I will catch colds. Since I started making sure I always wear my hat ( like my mum always told me to! ) I have had far fewer colds, I am convinced that the hat is the key. It's more likely that I am more careful than I was when I was younger and I don't stand about getting cold and damp when it's raining. I have a better diet and I exercise more than ever before, it's more likely these are the real reasons, but I still panic that I feel worse, when I don't know where my wooly hat is!

  7. Dave

    Cause and effect

    On the other hand, maybe it is only those who have actually experienced memory loss that believe in it?

  8. Deebster

    @Martin Lyne

    "Reverse-placebo effect"

    Nocebo effect, surely?

  9. Richard

    More cargo cult science

    This is just a rehash of the old tell someone that people like them tend to do crap in a test and funnily enough they do too experiment that's been done on let's see: women, <insert nigh on every race under the sun>, blondes, people who like cheese, kittens (probably).

    Obviously not being interested enough to fork out for a subscription to Geriatrics in Electrodes monthly, I have to wonder whether they've factored in whether this is exclusive to memory tests or if it's more of the "being told you're crap at _anything_ doesn't make you do better" effect that the plethora of variations on this theme and the "proofs" of stigmatisation would suggest.

  10. Simon Miles

    @ Eddie Edwards

    Way ahead of you. A few years back in an attempt to retain my teenage years i decided not to turn twenty, but to turn Twenteen. Then Twentyoneteen, Twentytwoteen etc, by my reckoning a year after i turn Twentynineteen i'll revert back in some form of Positive-Mental-De-Ageing.

    Count it out yourself, it's undeniable!

  11. Anonymous Coward


    I was thinking obecalp affect myself.

    And Vuja De is the strange feeling you've never been here before.

  12. slow-mo

    what about people like me who have a variable age?

    i.e mental age.

    in my case I can be any age between 13 and 63 depending on how good/grumpy I am feeling.

  13. Lionel Baden

    oh dear

    thats me screwed i cant remeber much atm and im only 28 !

  14. Robert Ramsay

    vuja de

    is actually called "jamais vu" and is generally held to be a symptom of mental illness.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    @Robert Ramsay


    Well, no, vuja de is not the same thing as jamais vu.

    Guess I should have used the joke alert icon instead of the egghead icon.

  16. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh really

    @Eddie: Tried it on my hair. It didn't work.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    part of it is just thinking you are old

    That's why i'm never going to grow up. Doesn't matter if I have to work. Doesn't matter if I have sprog. Doesn't matter if I have grey hair. Getting really OLD is mentally just thinking you're not a kid any more and can't play and have a good time with things. No, the body doesn't work like it used to (or how I would like)...but then, it never did :-) No, the brain doesn't work like it used to (or how I would like to think I remember it)...but then, it... well, go on now.

    Time for a little lie down.

  18. Anonymous John

    I'm 62,

    and my memory is as good as it ever was. I can't wait until I can buy an electric car.

  19. Robert

    ass backwards

    could it be people they've mixed up cause and effect?

    oldsters who believe age produces a poor memory probably do so because of their own experience of a memory that has failed with time, and will thus do badly in any memory test

  20. Wize

    Maybe the ones who are old

    ...cant remember that they forgot something.

  21. Steve

    Appeal to Authority...

    ... is a fallacy, but sheeple fall for it every time.

    Trust me, I'm an authority on this ;c)

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