Should you have the sweet potato falafels or the fish finger sandwich? Should you go to Tulum or Puglia this summer? Should you get the stainless steel S'Well bottle or go for something a little flashier?
Whether you’re plagued with chronic indecision or consider yourself a pretty spur-of-the-moment planner, it’s been suggested your ability to make decisions quickly is linked to age.
A study by French researchers in the Plos Computational Biology Journal found that 25-year-olds can most successfully make random decisions.
More than 3,400 people between 4 and 91-years-old were asked to perform a series of tasks. They assessed their ability to answer arbitrary queries, such as hypothetical questions about the results of dice rolls and pulling a card from a shuffled pack. They then looked further into the results and discovered age was the only factor that influenced the individual’s ability to make such decisions. While gender, language and education didn’t play a part, 25-year-olds performed best when posed with random choices.
Not just that, it’s also the age human behavioural complexity peaks and when we’re best at outsmarting computers.
Researchers said: ‘Our main finding is that the developmental curve of the estimated algorithmic complexity of responses is similar to what may be expected of a measure of higher cognitive abilities, with a performance peak around 25 and a decline starting around 60, suggesting that RIG (Random Item Generation) tasks yield good estimates of such cognitive abilities.’
Hector Zenil, one of the study’s authors, told Scientific American it suggests it’s not just decision-making that is affected by age. Making random choices draws on ‘a larger repository of diversity… so at 25, people have more resources to behave creatively’.
Well, lucky 25-year-olds!