No Image Available

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Do you want it fast or do you want it right?


A recent report in Scientific American leads one to conclude that older people might be better going for speed rather than accuracy in workplace decision making in order to refute ageist stereotypes about declining performance.

Apparently scientists administered over 60 visual tests to both undergraduates and adults. In one, a computer screen showed an array of asterisks and the subjects had to choose as fast as they could whether there were between 31 and 50 or between 51 and 70. In a second test, the subjects saw a string of letters and had to quickly decide whether the letters spelled a real English word or not.

The researchers found little difference in accuracy between the younger and older subjects, although undergraduates had significantly faster response times. But the older participants’ slower response times were not all the result of a decline in skills. In other tests, the older subjects were encouraged to decide faster, and their response times greatly decreased with hardly any loss of accuracy.

The researchers think that a greater desire to avoid mistakes therefore may make the elderly (“older folks” as they are charmingly termed) more deliberate. Or, one wonders, is it a generational thing - a result of having the old adage: More haste less speed drummed into us from an early age?


No Image Available

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!