In our culture, competitiveness is usually associated with youth. Think of sporting contests, music competitions (both of the classical virtuoso and pop diva varieties), or the pressure-packed process of applying to prestigious universities.
It now appears watching eager young performers in action may have skewed our view of the competitive urge. Newly published research suggests the instinct to bet on the superiority of one’s skills peaks around age 50.
A research team led by University of Oregon psychologist Ulrich Mayr reports this pattern holds true for both men and women, although the willingness of women to compete is consistently lower than that of men throughout the age span.
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