Lawyers, architects have great memory
A new study has revealed that people with complex jobs like architect, lawyers, and social workers among others may end up having longer-lasting...
Washington: A new study has revealed that people with complex jobs like architect, lawyers, and social workers among others may end up having longer-lasting memory and thinking abilities than people with less complicated work.
Alan J. Gow, PhD, said that more stimulating work environments might help people retain their thinking skills, and that this might be observed years after they have retired.
The analysis used levels of complexity according to the Dictionary of Occupational Titles. Examples of jobs that score highly for the complexity of work with people are: lawyer, social worker, surgeon, probation officer. Examples of jobs that have lower scores for complexity of work with people are: factory worker, bookbinder, painter, carpet layer.
Examples of jobs that score highly for the complexity of work with data are: architect, civil engineer, graphic designer or musician. Examples of jobs that have lower scores for complexity of work with data include: construction worker, telephone operator or food server.
The study found that participants who held jobs with higher levels of complexity with data and people, such as management and teaching, had better scores on memory and thinking tests. The results remained the same after considering IQ at age 11, years of education and the lack of resources in the environment the person lived in (based on information from the area in terms of crime and access to services, for example).
Overall, the effect of occupation was small, accounting for about 1 percent to 2 percent of the variance between people with jobs of high and low complexity, which is comparable to other factors such as the association between not smoking and better thinking skills in later life.
Researchers have debated whether a more stimulating environment may build up a person's "cognitive reserve," acting as a buffer allowing the brain to function in spite of damage, or whether people with higher thinking skills are those who are able to go into more challenging occupations.
Glow also mentioned that these results actually provide evidence for both the above mentioned theories, factoring in people's IQ at age 11 explained about 50 percent of the variance in thinking abilities in later life, but it did not account for all of the difference.
That is, while it was true that people who have higher cognitive abilities are more likely to get more complex jobs, there still seems to be a small advantage gained from these complex jobs for later thinking skills, he further concluded.
The research is published in the online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.