Getting old may be no laughing matter.
A new study suggests older adults have a harder time getting jokes as they age because they have greater difficulty with cognitive flexibility, abstract reasoning and short-term memory.
Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis compared healthy adults over age 65 to undergraduate students in their ability to complete jokes and stories. They also had to choose the correct punch line for verbal jokes and select the funny ending to a series of cartoon panels.
Younger adults did six-percent better on the verbal jokes and 14-percent better on the cartoons.
The findings are published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.