Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Old People Aren't Rude, Just Uninhibited: New Research

Date:
September 9, 2005
Source:
University of New South Wales
Summary:
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.

If you suffered from piles, would you want your friends asking aboutyour condition in public? Most people wouldn't, yet new researchsuggests that the older you become the more likely you are to makesomeone blush with embarrassment in that way.

Related Articles


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

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

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

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

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

"It seems that young adults have a greater ability to holdtheir tongue than older adults in contexts where it is inappropriate todiscuss personal issues." Behaving badly like this also seems to havenegative consequences for peer relationships, particularly for olderpeople.

"Young people weren't too bothered when their friends wereoccasionally inappropriate, but older adults felt much less close tothose 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 askedquestions like this about each other: Imagine that you have someprivate medical condition (for example, haemorrhoids). Your friendknows 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 yourfriend arrives. Would your friend inquire/comment about your conditionin front of the others? Similar questions were asked about recentweight gain, personal family problems, etc.

###

ABOUT BILL VON HIPPEL

Bill von Hippel, PhD, is associate professor in the school ofpsychology at the University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia).His research interests include prejudice and stereotyping,social-cognitive ageing, and evolutionary psychology.
Homepage: http://www.psy.unsw.edu.au/Users/BHippel/


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of New South Wales. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of New South Wales. "Old People Aren't Rude, Just Uninhibited: New Research." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 September 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050909220634.htm>.
University of New South Wales. (2005, September 9). Old People Aren't Rude, Just Uninhibited: New Research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 24, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050909220634.htm
University of New South Wales. "Old People Aren't Rude, Just Uninhibited: New Research." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050909220634.htm (accessed January 24, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) — A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

RightThisMinute (Jan. 23, 2015) — Not only is Kathy seeing her newborn son for the first time, but this is actually the first time she has ever seen a baby. Kathy and her sister, Yvonne, have been legally blind since childhood, but thanks to an amazing new technology, eSight glasses, which gives those who are legally blind the ability to see, she got the chance to see the birth of her son. It&apos;s an incredible moment and an even better story. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com
One Dose, Then Surgery to Test Tumor Drugs Fast

One Dose, Then Surgery to Test Tumor Drugs Fast

AP (Jan. 23, 2015) — A Phoenix hospital is experimenting with a faster way to test much needed medications for deadly brain tumors. Patients get a single dose of a potential drug, and hours later have their tumor removed to see if the drug had any affect. (Jan. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Bedtime Rituals For a Good Night's Sleep

The Best Bedtime Rituals For a Good Night's Sleep

Buzz60 (Jan. 22, 2015) — What you do before bed can effect how well you sleep. TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) has bedtime rituals to induce the best night&apos;s sleep. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins