[TALKING TRENDS] Brain-aging

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[TALKING TRENDS] Brain-aging

Seo Jeong-min
The author is a senior reporter at the JoongAng Ilbo  
Recently, an article about a new fashion item released from an online magazine was subtitled: “Is this brain-aging, too?"
The article was about a pair of sock-like sneakers, which looked like a pair of vivid yellow socks with rubber soles attached. When I first saw the picture of the footwear, I wondered if it was really possible for the shoes to support the feet properly while exercising, especially as the fabric appeared to be knitted. Then, the vivid color and unique design took over, continuing to draw my attention.

The newly-coined word “brain-aging,” which is a combination of “brain” and “aging,” describes the sensation when you become curiously fascinated with something that you initially thought wasn't very good. Aging normally refers to getting old, but when it comes to lifestyle products it has a broader meaning — to age or mature a product, sometimes to improve its functionality or how it looks.
When you buy a leather or denim product, it is usually stiff at first. Then, after using it for a long time, its color will fade and it will be more stylish with a softer texture. It can also describe the process of playing specific ranges of sound for an extended time on new high-end audio equipment to become better attuned to the speakers.
An example of brain-aging products would be Apples’ Airpods. Millennials and Gen Zers laughed at it, calling the product “bean sprouts” when it first came out. But now, everybody seems to have a pair.

Marketing strategies used by conglomerates are so aggressive and overwhelming that “brain-aging’ could also describe the phenomenon where people are brainwashed unconsciously. Still, an attitude where we agree not to write things off immediately and look for the positives over time is desirable in today's society.

BY SEO JEONG-MIN [meantree@joongang.co.kr]
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