Why people seem so mean as they age?

People Seem So Mean

The differences between each living generation are based on diverse experiences that accordingly shape different approaches and can create barriers of communication or even provoke the inability to listen to each other. But this doesn’t necessarily need to be the case.

 The latest studies show that the generation gap might not be relevant when it comes to the question why older people seem to be so mean. The aging process shrinks certain parts of our brain and that affects people’s embarrassment level.  This causes people to become less worried about what they are saying. It might mean that older people express their opinion that would normally keep only for themselves. Moreover, it is possible that people have always been this way, and aging simply reveals ones’ true character.

 Deeper insights

 Everyone probably knows that awkward feeling when grandparents share some unpleasant comments. Younger generations would usually assume that grandparents don’t know things about modern life and their old-fashioned viewpoint isn’t valid anymore. 

 Studies have proved that the age-related change weakens people’s ability to distinguish what is appropriate to say and what isn’t. Which make them look fierce or insensitive. However, it can also be a personal trait that was carefully concealed.  

 Roots of racism 

 Some researchers believe that racism is built on a biological or evolutionary basis. It has a quite primitive explanation: homo sapiens tend to compete for resources. However, this prediction is missing a deeper investigation.

 Instead, a psychological reason seems more suitable version in this case; it is related with having more fears like insecurity, feeling a threat of other groups, and looking for a sense of belonging. Additionally, it’s likely that their insecurity causes terror management theory: “people become more naturalistic, materialistic, and conventional when they aware about their mortality.” (Steve Taylor, the Leeds Beckett University) The fear of death strengthens the need for protection and for this reason older people try to stick to their identity (culture, traditions and known social norms) in order to create a sense of belonging. 

Unfortunately, in many cases a sense of belonging associates with the solidarity of hating others.

In a way, this is connected with self-awareness. When people don’t like something about themselves (low self-esteem or intensive dislike of oneself), they prefer to complain about the same trait but projecting it on others instead of themselves. Thus, when people look or come from different environments, do not have typical habits and dissimilar backgrounds, it feels easier to use them as a scapegoat. It happens only because older people feel the threat for their identity and for their comfortable environment. 

Obviously, globalization and multiculturalism don’t make things easier for previous generations. Being older makes it harder to adapt with the standard speed. Nevertheless, the need of identity can’t be disregard since it strongly affects people’s behaviour and choices.

Roots of racism

Mental structure

 As people age, their ability to adapt to changes decreases. With age, a human’s mental structure becomes less flexible, so accordingly it can’t accimilate in the same way. 

As scientists explain, the reason for the atrophy of brains is that “the frontal lobes lose their sharpness”. This is responsible for our ability to judge, use rationality, apply filters and prevent inadequate thoughts. In short, it leads to having less control over what comes out of the mouth. In fact, age reveals people’s subconscious thoughts that were inhibited earlier over their lifetime. 

It depends

To conclude, there is no correct claim that aging makes individuals judgemental and resentful. Sure, aging can stimulate fears or influence cognitive decline which leads to a release of bitterness and inappropriate thoughts.


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