Age, variability, and speed: between-subjects diversity

Psychol Aging. 1988 Dec;3(4):407-10. doi: 10.1037//0882-7974.3.4.407.


Two independent data sets were selected to examine the interrelations among reaction time (RT), between-subject variability or diversity (SD), and age. In both data sets, a strong correlation between RT and SD was obtained. This strong correlation was not affected when age was controlled in a partial correlation analysis. On the other hand, a weaker but significant correlation was obtained between age and SD. This correlation was eliminated when RT was controlled in a partial correlation analysis. Our analyses of the two data sets also indicated that the relation between RT and SD is identical for both young and elderly groups. Thus, the greater diversity often observed in performances of older groups is a direct consequence of slowing, rather than an independent effect of advancing age.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Individuality*
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Middle Aged
  • Reaction Time*