Thursday, January 15, 2015

Attorney Is A Great Career For The Brain

For all of the pain and suffering that goes into the practice of law, there is some great news from the folks at the Wall Street Journal. There is a new study out that reports that practicing law has great long-term benefits for the brain.

"A new study in the journal Neurology finds that intellectually complex jobs, such as social worker, graphic designer or architect, are associated with better thinking skills later in life. The research, from Scotland’s University of Edinburgh, tested 1,066 individuals, all born in 1936 and mostly retired, on memory, processing speed and general cognitive ability. Researchers gave the participants, all around 70 years old at the time, a variety of tests. To assess memory, for example, individuals were asked to repeat information after a delay, according to Alan Gow, one of the study’s authors. To gauge general cognitive ability, they completed patterns. Individuals whose jobs involved analyzing or synthesizing data, such as architects and civil engineers, tended to have better cognitive performance. The same went for those who did complicated work involving people — instructing, negotiating with or mentoring others. Lawyers, social workers, surgeons and probation officers are all considered complex roles."

Lawyers spend so much of their time working, often well into their senior years. It's wonderful to see that the natural byproduct of all of this work is the retention of cognitive ability at 70+ years of age.

"The findings are in line with the 'use it or lose it' theory, according to Gow, an assistant professor of psychology at Heriot-Watt University who began the research at the University of Edinburgh. The more you tackle tough problems, the less likely it is that cognitive muscle will decline over time."

If you are ever having a rough go at lawyering, remember that it can be seen as a strenuous form of exercise - exercising the cognitive muscle - while it might not feel good while you're doing it, the long-term benefits are immeasurable.

image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/00/Brain_power.jpg

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