Re: The Pause that Refreshes

From: Anders Sandberg (
Date: Tue Jun 06 2000 - 11:52:09 MDT

Robin Hanson <> writes:

> This sounds an awful lot like you are just changing as you get older.
> Evolution has programmed humans to express different genes at different
> ages, which changes both obvious things about our bodies and less
> obvious things about our minds. We are in many ways just different
> people when we get older, with different abilities and preferences.

As a nice coincidence, I was just running my mental aging model in
another window when I read this post. I'm currently studying how
varying levels of plasticity in the brain relates to memory, a very
fun subject. It seems that there are definitely some changes in both
the amounts of neurotransmittors regulating plasticity and how
synapses change. In order to achieve maximal learning ability and
avoid unlearning important early experiences (such as how to walk,
recognise one's mother etc) the plasticity should decrease over time,
and there is an optimal level of plasticity decrease.

However, I think it is an oversimplification to say that the
understanding that slowing down can be beneficial is mainly due to a
biological slowing or the lack of youthful impatience (even an
impatient youth can come to understand the benefits, but may be unable
to reach them). That may contribute, but I also see a need for
sufficient experience to be able to compare different approaches to

> For example, this article describes how evolution should make time
> preferences change with age, including how "young adults should
> discount the future more rapidly than their elders".
> 3x/0
> Evolution of Time Preference by Natural Selection
> Alan R. Rogers, AER 84(3):460-481. (June 1994)

Sounds very interesting.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y

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