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 Geographers provide new insight into commuter megaregions of the US
01.12.2016 | Dartmouth College

nachricht Sustainable Development Goals lead to lower population growth
30.11.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>