During the Newcastle/Manchester longitudinal study, we hoped to test several thousand elderly people many times over 5 years. We could not hope to get resources to assess them individually and so had to find pencil and paper tests of vocabulary, intelligence, memory, learning and decision speed that we could give to groups of ten or more people at once. We piloted these tests on volunteers in Oxford, a city teeming with greying academics who are all eager to confirm that they are aging exceptionally elegantly and slowly (of course, they are all quite right). Their enthusiasm was welcome and heartening, but we were embarrassed that they found the tests more boring than they had hoped and were irritated by their simplicity. This was made clear while I was a timid dinner guest at All Souls College. An extremely distinguished Fellow who, unknown to me, had come to our lab to be tested out of curiosity, publicly harangued me for the childish banality of our tests, explained how I had wasted his and my time and told me that if I wanted to learn something useful about mental aging I should just ask insightful people like himself to discuss their experiences. If I had been less flustered, we might both have learned something from an uncomfortable encounter. (Keeping our promise of absolute anonymity for all of our volunteers, I have never checked his intelligence test scores, but I am sure that they were, and still are, remarkable).