Cognitive Aging and Ability to Work

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The brief’s key findings are:

  • Cognitive aging could hinder productivity by reducing the brain’s processing ability (“fluid” intelligence).
  • But research shows that productivity generally does not decline with age.
  • Key reasons are that declining fluid intelligence is often offset by accumulated knowledge, and reserve fluid capacity can act as a buffer against decline.
  • Only a minority of workers are vulnerable: those in jobs that require very high levels of fluid intelligence and those who experience cognitive impairment.