This study of 1.6 million chess moves found the age we hit our cognitive peak

-Scientists analyzed professional chess tournaments between 1890 and 2014.

-They found cognitive ability rises sharply until the early 20s and then plateaus.

-Performance also steadily increased over the course of the 20th century, steepening in the 1990s, which has coincided with the rise of digital technology.

-The metric could be used to analyze age-performance patterns, authors suggest.

More than 24,000 chess games played in professional tournaments over 125 years have been analyzed by scientists to measure how age affects cognitive ability.

They conclude that humans reach their cognitive peak around the age of 35 and begin to decline after the age of 45. And our cognitive abilities today exceed those of our ancestors.

“Performance reveals a hump-shaped pattern over the life cycle,” report the authors in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “Individual performance increases sharply until the early 20s and then reaches a plateau, with a peak around 35 years and a sustained decline at higher ages.”

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