Researchers analyzed the data from 2,171 adults who where part of the Farmington Heart Study. They all averaged 63 years in age. They all completed neuropsychological testing, cognitive function, and answered questions of social support (including if they had someone in their lives that would listen). They also had MRI brain scans, showing that no one had dementia, suffered a stroke or other neurological disorders.
The test functions and brain scans allowed the researchers to assess brain volume, giving them data on global cognition (thinking, attention, memory, language, and visual and spatial reasoning) as well as cognitive resilience (a measurement of the brain’s ability to function better than expected for the amount of physical aging).
People who reported that they always or often could count on someone to listen when needed, had a significantly better global cognition and higher cognitive resilience, than those who did not have some to listen.