Re: Extropians > 40

Hal Finney (
Tue, 29 Dec 1998 13:25:04 -0800

Alexander 'Sasha' Chislenko, <>, writes:
> Unfortunately, it seems quite typical for people to lose curiosity and
> interests with age, as well as life energy.
> [...]
> So what are the issues typical for a maturing extropian?
> How do you define maturity? Do you get more serious or more playful
> with years? More independent or more social? More determined or
> more relaxed? Weaker or stronger?

There was an interesting study on mental characteristics which were related to the chances of developing Alzheimer's disease. They found that people who were more intelligent and more mentally active when they were young were less likely to later develop Alzheimer's. The ones who read more, did puzzles, had higher vocabulary, etc., were relatively immune.

This is surprising because Alzheimer's is thought of as a disease condition, involving the destruction of brain cells. It is remarkable if certain patterns of thought can prevent this. Maybe it is true that brain cells need exercise, and that if you don't use 'em, you lose 'em.

Another reassuring angle is the Flynn effect. This is the observation that raw scores on IQ tests have been climbing for several decades. In the original article I read about this, they claimed that much of the apparent deterioration in IQ for older people could actually be explained by this effect. A 60 year old man today was born around 1940, a 30 year old around 1970. In that 30 year period there was a rise in average IQs, so we would expect the 60 year old to have a lower IQ than the 30 year old just by this effect. Apparently this can be seen as an explanation for the observed fall in IQs with age.

On this basis we might expect not to have our own IQs fall, but rather to have young people continue to become smarter.