Can New Activities Help an Ageing Brain?

Heriot-Watt University front entrance

Can taking up a new activity help our thinking skills as we age?

That’s a key question for researchers interested in cognitive ageing, the field that explores how thinking skills change over the life course, and what factors might be associated with those changes.

The Ageing Lab at Heriot-Watt University’s Department of Psychology have made it their mission to find out how new activities could affect our thinking skills as we age.

As we age, we are more likely to experience changes in our thinking and memory skills (these are referred to as our mental or cognitive abilities). Some people experience declines in their thinking and memory skills across their 60s and beyond, while others maintain their abilities into old age. This variation suggests that a number of factors influence the likelihood of mental decline. Keeping engaged in intellectual, social or physical activities have all been proposed as potentially beneficial.

In our major study in The Ageing Lab, we are asking people take up new and challenging activities to see how those might have benefits for their thinking skills, as well as their health and wellbeing more broadly. We’re on target to have over 300 people in that study, and the results will be reported later this year. But there’s still time for people to take part. To find out what that might involve, here are what some of our current participants think about their experiences.

Picture by Lesley Martin
7 June 2018
© Lesley Martin 2018

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10 Fun Facts About Our Beloved City!

Are you thinking of studying in Edinburgh? Is Clearing the route you are taking into University? Seize the opportunity with both hands and choose Edinburgh as your city to study in. As proud ‘Dunediners’ (the old name for Edinburgh is Dunedin) the SoSS Recruitment and Marketing team have created some fun little-known-facts about the city they live, learn and work in. If this is the city you choose to study in, Edinburgh is brilliant and here are some reasons why!

1: Edinburgh hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 1972: in the Usher Hall (which is a beautiful venue on Lothian Road).

2: Edinburgh appears in Grand Theft Auto! (Rockstar North have their Head Office here) and they featured the two bridges: the Forth Rail Bridge and the Forth Road Bridge in GTA: San Andreas, we wonder if they will update this with the new third bridge the Queensferry Crossing…?

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From Brazil to Bonnie Scotland: Why Melissa Chose Heriot-Watt for her MSc in Managing Business Performance.

This is Melissa Marques, a student from Brazil who handpicked Heriot-Watt University for her Master’s Degree in Managing Business Performance from half way around the world.
She’s described her experience of studying at Heriot-Watt as ‘amazing’, which is fantastic to hear from someone doing a Master’s degree in managing performance!
Click on her image to read a Q and A about her time studying here over on our #LoveWattYouDo blog where our students write about their experiences at Heriot-Watt University.

What drove your decision to study an MSc in Managing Business Performance?

My decision to study the MSc Managing Business Performance course was based on gaining a holistic view of businesses to help me stand out in the marketplace and accelerate my career. I also believed studying an accredited course would strengthen my credibility in the field.

Why did you choose Heriot-Watt for your MSc?

I chose to study at Heriot-Watt because of its great reputation and its renowned academic body. The good reviews from alumni and the scholarship opportunities available also ensured me that Heriot-Watt was the right choice! Continue reading From Brazil to Bonnie Scotland: Why Melissa Chose Heriot-Watt for her MSc in Managing Business Performance.

The Heriot-Watt and Norway Connection: Deeper than the North Sea

This is Petter, a Norwegian student in his 4th year of MA Business and Finance at Heriot-Watt University’s School of Social Sciences.

We spoke to Petter to find out what it’s like to be a Norwegian student in Scotland and he told us why he chose to do his Business and Finance degree in Edinburgh and why he thinks it’s easy to feel at home here.

Read on to learn more about Petter’s plans for the future and discover which Norwegian VIP has links to Heriot-Watt University.

Continue reading The Heriot-Watt and Norway Connection: Deeper than the North Sea