Does our ability to imagine decline as we age and if so why?

Devil505

Former Staff
Jan 2008
74,984
33,400
Florida
At 73, I feel that my imaginative skills are declining.
When I was a kid I could play with blocks or whatever and imagine I was building great structures and when I was a young adult I could play a submarine computer game called Silent Service and vividly imagine being underwater in the Pacific hunting Japanese warships for hours at a time.

I am less interested in games now and am wondering what cause this?
I assume it's age but exactly what changes in my brain causes this?

It's a shame and I wonder what imagination has to do with aging, intelligence and other factors.......but I miss it.

Thoughts?
 
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The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
50,799
38,953
Toronto
At 73, I feel that my imaginative skills are declining.
When I was a kid I could play with blocks or whatever and imagine I was building great structures and when I was a young adult I could play a submarine computer game called Silent Service and vividly imagine being underwater in the Pacific hunting Japanese warships for hours at a time.

I am less interested in games now and am wondering what cause this?
I assume it's age but exactly what changes in my brain causes this?

It's a shame and I wonder what imagination has to do with aging, intelligence and other factors.......but I miss it.

Thoughts?
Wow. Awesome graphics :D

Anyway, I seem to be just as imaginative at 30 as I was as a teen...

I know, because one of my bobbies is occasionally typing up own stories, fan fiction about variosu movies and TV shows I like, that sort of thing.

Most of them will never see the light of day, I have only ever allowed even my wife to read just a couple lol

But, she said those ones were pretty good. And I did the same back in high school, where some of my stories were even published in the school newspaper, and people like them back then too :)

So, yeah, for now, at least, seems my imagination is alright.

We shall see what happens when I am 73. Literally can't even imagine being that age yet, honestly haha Pun kind of intended...
 
Jun 2014
52,992
55,888
United States
At 73, I feel that my imaginative skills are declining.
When I was a kid I could play with blocks or whatever and imagine I was building great structures and when I was a young adult I could play a submarine computer game called Silent Service and vividly imagine being underwater in the Pacific hunting Japanese warships for hours at a time.

I am less interested in games now and am wondering what cause this?
I assume it's age but exactly what changes in my brain causes this?

It's a shame and I wonder what imagination has to do with aging, intelligence and other factors.......but I miss it.

Thoughts?

I am of the opinion that one simply becomes jaded with some of the things that were once interesting after years of repetition. I burned out on video games long before I became "old".
 
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Ian Jeffrey

Council Hall
Mar 2013
80,290
51,004
Vulcan, down the street from Darth Vader
I haven't burned out on computer games - at least, not yet, at 51. I still play a few, but none of them is recent ... Might & Magic 6, 7, 8 and Civilization 3 ... all more than 15 years old (and MM6 is 20 years old, now). I would rather play the games I know than keep learning new ones.

And not all people lose their imaginative edge when they get older - science-fiction authors come to mind. I think it's just like muscles ... they atrophy less when used.
 
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Jul 2013
60,361
68,355
Nashville, TN
At 73, I feel that my imaginative skills are declining.
When I was a kid I could play with blocks or whatever and imagine I was building great structures and when I was a young adult I could play a submarine computer game called Silent Service and vividly imagine being underwater in the Pacific hunting Japanese warships for hours at a time.

I am less interested in games now and am wondering what cause this?
I assume it's age but exactly what changes in my brain causes this?

It's a shame and I wonder what imagination has to do with aging, intelligence and other factors.......but I miss it.

Thoughts?
I am with you, at 76 I am feeling it as well...
 

Babba

Former Staff
Jul 2007
79,586
72,415
So. Md.
At 61 I'm not feeling less imaginative than I did when i was younger. I still play video games and am open to new ones. I love new music. I have friends who listen to oldies and I kinda find that irritating when I'm riding in their cars. Not that I don't enjoy a nostalgic romp into old music now and then. But not on a day-to-day basis. I do some writing so I think that helps keep the imagination muscles active. I think Ian is right. You have to use those muscles to keep them in shape.
 

Ian Jeffrey

Council Hall
Mar 2013
80,290
51,004
Vulcan, down the street from Darth Vader
My imagination is semi-active. Like now, preparing for a (short) jury trial tomorrow, I have to invent a defense (i.e., I'll be surprised if I win).

The joke - also a true story - is that as a child, I wanted to be a science-fiction author. But I have no talent for fiction, so I became a lawyer instead. (And I wrote a paper in law school that came dangerously close to being science-fiction, though really more speculative than anything else.)
 
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Mar 2012
61,496
42,709
New Hampshire
At 61 I'm not feeling less imaginative than I did when i was younger. I still play video games and am open to new ones. I love new music. I have friends who listen to oldies and I kinda find that irritating when I'm riding in their cars. Not that I don't enjoy a nostalgic romp into old music now and then. But not on a day-to-day basis. I do some writing so I think that helps keep the imagination muscles active. I think Ian is right. You have to use those muscles to keep them in shape.
I think it also depends on whether one lives in the past on a continual basis or not as well. I have friends who, at least to me, are so old fashioned, I find it irritating. They wont watch Netflix or many new things. They prefer to watch re-runs and listen to older music. I think people as they age, if they stay active and try new things as they come available tend to remain more creative and feel better. My dad as he grew older and had health issues, found the internet his getaway. It amazed him what he could do. It was just taking off, but he was fascinated by it. Had he been around today, I think he would have loved forums and YouTube. It made him feel connected.