Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Old people aren’t rude, just uninhibited: new research

12.09.2005


If you suffered from piles, would you want your friends asking about your condition in public? Most people wouldn’t, yet new research suggests that the older you become the more likely you are to make someone blush with embarrassment in that way.

But old people may not intend to be rude: in fact, age-related changes in brain function may explain their lack of tact, according to a new Australian study just published in the journal Psychology and Aging.

Tests carried out by researchers at the University of New South Wales, in Sydney, found that people aged 65 to 93 years were more likely to ask each other such personal questions in a public setting than younger people aged 18 to 25 (see example below).



Yet the study also found that older people were just as likely as younger ones to agree that making public inquiries about private issues was socially inappropriate and embarrassing: so why do older people blurt out such discomforting questions?

The ability to inhibit thoughts and actions is critical for socially appropriate discourse but that ability appears to weaken due to changes in brain function related to the normal ageing process, according to one of the authors of the report, Associate Professor Bill von Hippel, of the UNSW School of Psychology.

"It’s not just that older people were more likely than younger people to ask personal questions," says Professor von Hippel. "In fact, young people in our study were more likely to ask each other questions of a personal nature, but they usually did so in private.

"It seems that young adults have a greater ability to hold their tongue than older adults in contexts where it is inappropriate to discuss personal issues." Behaving badly like this also seems to have negative consequences for peer relationships, particularly for older people.

"Young people weren’t too bothered when their friends were occasionally inappropriate, but older adults felt much less close to those acquaintances who asked about their private lives in public," says Professor von Hippel.

Are you tactful?

In the research project, small groups of friends were asked questions like this about each other: Imagine that you have some private medical condition (for example, haemorrhoids). Your friend knows about your condition. You are alone together with your friend, maybe at home having a coffee together.

Would your friend inquire/comment about your condition?

How about if you were at a gathering with other people when your friend arrives. Would your friend inquire/comment about your condition in front of the others? Similar questions were asked about recent weight gain, personal family problems, etc.

Dr Bill von Hippel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psy.unsw.edu.au/Users/BHippel/
http://www.unsw.edu.au

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Treating arthritis with algae

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Witnessing turbulent motion in the atmosphere of a distant star

23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>