M: Is this a good thing, do you think?
W: I think that it's an excellent arrangement.
W: We all like to keep part of our lives private, even from those we love dearly.
W: I certainly don't think that it's a sign of the increased loneliness of old age.
M: Are people's mental abilities affected by old age?
W: Certain changes do take place as we grow older, but this happens throughout life.
W: These changes are very gradual and happen at different times with different people,
W: but, in general, if you know a person well in his middle age and have seen how he deals with events and problems, you will easily recognize him in old age.
M: So that someone who enjoys new experiences, travel, education, and so on in his middle years will usually continue to do so into old age?
W: Exactly. We have carried out some very interesting experiments in which a group of people aged 60-70 and a group aged 30-40 had to learn the same things.
W: The first thing we discovered was that the young group tends to be quicker at learning than the old group.
W: However, although the old group took longer to learn, eventually, they performed as well as the young group.
W: And when we tested the two groups several weeks later, there was again no difference between the two groups.
M: That's very interesting indeed. What else did your experiments show?
W: Well, one group of old people agreed to attend evening classes for a year to study English and mathematics.
W: In fact, most of this group became so interested in their studies that they continued them for another year.
W: Anyway, we discovered that they did best in the English classes and that most of them steadily improved their ability to communicate in both the written and the spoken language.
M: What about the group who studied mathematics?
W: Well, that's a different story. There seems to be no doubt that people find maths more difficult as they grow older. Though, why this is so, I cannot say.
M: Perhaps pocket calculators will solve this problem.
W: I think you're right. In fact, I'm sure that you are.
M: Okay. Time for a commercial. Stay tuned; we'll be right back.