As we age, our strength, quickness, and endurance decrease, which degrades our defense abilities. However, as we age our knowledge and experience increase, which increases our defense ability. Sometimes wisdom and experience can make up for the ravages of age. In addition, age has another physical advantage over youth—the ability to grasp the big picture visually. Older persons become more aware of their surroundings.
Research has shown that older people have improved skill in tracking peripheral movement; they are better able to comprehend the total image of events unfolding around them. This skill is advantageous in a multi-person confrontation, when moving around in a street environment, or even on a sporting field.
Research at McMaster’s University in Ontario, Canada, published in the February 2005 issue of Neuron, tested young adult college students against adults in their 60s and 70s. One test measured how quickly subjects processed information on the sideways movement of vertical bars seen on the screen of a computer. Younger subjects took less time in detecting sideways motion when the bars were small or low in contrast, but when the bars were large or high in contrast, older subjects performed better.
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