November 3, 2015

Study: old people better at correcting their mistakes than young people

That most of our abilities decline as we age, is a fact. But is this equally true for all our abilities? No. In this article I write that certain abilities can grow into old age. Also, I write that certain meta-cognitions such as mildness may increase and attitudes such as egocentrism may decrease. In this article I mention several other examples. This week I came across another example of something which we may get better at as we get older.

Metcalfe et al. (2015) describe a study in which older people outperformed young people in two ways in a general knowledge quiz. First, they gave more correct answers. Maybe, this isn't so surprising considering the fact that they have experienced more and have had more years to accumulate their general knowledge. Second, they outperformed young people at something which you may not have expected. They turned out to do better at correcting their mistakes after having received feedback.

Both with old and young people the so-called hypercorrection effect happened. This means that people are more inclined to correct their mistakes when they initially had strong confidence in their wrong answer than when they had less confidence in its correctness. In old people, however, this effect was weaker. Older people were more inclined than younger people to also change their wrong answers when they were initially less confident about them. .

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