Constant: Everyone knows that the mind shifts mode after age 40. Millions of words have been written about this change for thousands of years. We sometimes call it the midlife crisis, but most folks realize it’s not a crisis, just a change in our way of perceiving the world.
These researchers decided to LOOK ABOUT YOU for a physical change.
Early on, in our teenage and young adult years, the brain seems to have numerous, partitioned networks with high levels of inner connectivity, reflecting the ability for specialized processing to occur. That makes sense, as this is the time when we are learning how to play sports, speak languages, and develop talents. Around our mid-40s, however, that starts to change. Instead, the brain begins becoming less connected within those separate networks and more connected globally across networks. By the time we reach our 80s, the brain tends to be less regionally specialized and instead broadly connected and integrated.
Variable: The long timeline is not universally accepted. This physical observation agrees with earlier wisdom about life stages but disagrees with modern Savannah Sabertooth TedTalk thinking. Modern tech fans believe our natural lifespan is about 30, and only modern technology and modern “medicine” enable us to reach higher ages.
If we have a prewired schedule that includes the 80s, we’re undoubtedly DESIGNED to reach the 80s. The switch at 40 correlates with menopause, so the three mental setups are probably parent, grandparent and great-grandparent, corresponding to changes in social role and workload.