London: A British study says men and women in their 50s are now rather more willing to pit themselves against others than ever before.

Indeed, it is ­actually the point in our lives where taste for competition is at its strongest, the daily reported.

The findings, published in the journal Psychology and aging, contradict the assumption that most people thrive on competition in their teens, twenties and thirties, before it subsides with age and declining testosterone levels.

Scientists, in fact, found that the competitive streak gets bigger over the decades, peaking at about 50.

For the study, American psychologists at the University of Oregon got hundreds of volunteers aged from 25 to 75 years to solve maths equations as quickly as possible.

They were given the choice of playing on their own or taking on a rival with a cash incentive for the winner in order to assess their taste for competition.

Almost 70 percent of men aged 45 to 54 chose to go head-to-head with a rival, compared to just 50 percent of those in the 25 to 34 age group.

But only one in three women fell in that category.

(Agencies)