Writing in Big Think, Ross Pomeroy calls attention to an article from Psychophysiology in which the authors review articles related to the connections in the human brain and how those connections change with age. The major finding is that early in life the connections within the brain are organized in numerous partitioned networks with high levels of connectivity that support specialized processing. Beginning around 40 the network organization changes as the brain becomes less connected within the separate networks and more globally connected across networks.
The findings are used to explain cognitive declines that accompanying aging and suggest that the increase in cross-network connections may be a way of adjusting and compensating for such declines to some extent. However, the increase in connections across the various specialized networks within the brain raise the question of the potential impact on creativity among aging adults. If creativity is at least in part the result of combining and connecting elements that are typically not connected, the increase in global connectivity within the aging brain may be a foundation for a period of new creativity later in life. This, of course, would carry implications for adult learning and efforts to foster it.
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