As people grow older, they become less adept at recognizing their own mistakes, suggests a study that can shed new insight into how ageing adults perceive their decisions and view their performance.
"Realizing fewer errors can have more severe consequences because you can't remedy an error that you don't realize you've committed," said Jan Wessel, Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa in the US and the study's corresponding author.
For the study, published in the journal Neurobiology of Ageing, the researchers recruited 38 younger adults (average age of 22) and 39 older adults (average age of 68) to take a series of tests that involved looking away from a circle appearing in a box on one side of a computer screen.
Older adults performed just as well as younger adults in the tests, but younger adults acknowledged more often than older adults when they failed to look away from the object.
Older adults were also more likely to be adamant about them not making a mistake.
"The good news is older adults perform the tasks which we assigned to them just as well as younger adults, albeit more slowly," Wessel said.
"But we find there is this impaired ability in older adults to recognize an error when they've made one," Wessel added.
The research offers new insight into how older people perceive their decisions, and especially how they view their performance -- whether judging their own ability to drive or how regularly they believe they have taken medications.
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