Researchers at UK’s University College have declared on the basis of a study that people in the age group of 50 years and above should ration the hours that they spend before the television if they want to retain their memory. They analyzed data from ELSA on around 3662 adults aged 50 and above between years 2008 to 2009 and then again between 2014 and 2015. All the participants were asked questions about time they spent before television and tests about their verbal memory and language fluency was also carried out.
Analysis of data revealed that people who watched television for more than 3.5 hours on a daily basis experienced decline of 8 to 10 percent in memory related to word and language within the study period of 6 years. This was double the average decline of people in the same age group that watched less television during this period. Details of the research which was published in Scientific Reports journal show that there were no links between viewing time and “semantic fluency”. During the verbal memory tests participants were asked to memorize and recall lists of words within a short period of time.
During semantic fluency tests the participants were asked to list examples of different categories that they could think of within a given time period. The study authors have noted that though there has been research on effect of television on cognitive levels in humans most of them have focused on kids. According to Dr. Daisy Fancourt, the study’s co-author, limited attention has been paid to effect of television viewing on older generation though hypothetical theories have emerged about excessive television causing dementia. Previous studies have shown that sedentary habits over a period of time like television watching leads to cognitive decline among older adults. Researchers also suggest that television watching could also impact verbal memory due to cognitive stress.