The age of enlightenment

25 August 2011
As I will soon turn another year older, my dreams of striding out to save a test match for England at Lords, or stepping onto the podium to receive my Olympic gold medal continue to diminish (although, I hasten to add, I am not ruling myself out for selection). At least I can console myself that my decision-making will begin to improve. A study conducted by the University of Texas has found older people make more effective choices than young people. The research found those aged between 60 and 80 made more strategic decisions that consider the future, compared with those of university age, who are more likely to make choices that lead to instant gratification. Academics put this down to a change in the way the brain operates as we age. This is reassuring news, but before companies head off to Eastbourne in search of their next chief executive or managing director, they should beware. Sadly, the researchers finished their study too early to incorporate a key piece of evidence that significantly undermines their theory – at least among men. The findings of another august research institution – fashion retailer Debenhams – have found that the older men get, the shorter their swimming trunks become.
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