Do We Get More Conservative As We Age?

There has been much reporting that cable networks like CNN and Fox News are losing viewers to the one thing that even the savviest advertiser cannot combat: death. Let’s face it, these 24-hour news sources are largely geared to those in their golden years, as evidenced by the endless stream of blood pressure, incontinence, and Viagara ads. It makes sense: seniors are much more likely to be retired and in front of the television for more hours per day. The average age of a Fox News viewer has been pegged as both 68 and 70.

Another thing that seems true is that we become more conservative with age. This can be the result of several factors.

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The Decline of Intellectual Curiosity

This amalgam of scientific studies indicates that a person’s intellectual curiosity tends to decline with age. The willingness to learn more about different people, cultures, and ideologies plays a key role in helping to broaden one’s horizons. Those with more educated backgrounds tend to be more open to change and empathy for the positions of others.

Changes in the Ability to Judge

As we age, our ability to process information slows. While people in middle age and above can rely on years of experience while judging situations, they also are less adept at recalling information. That means that they spend less time thinking about the wide ranging aspects of information. This study showed that people in this age range tend to favor black and white interpretations over ones that might have some ambiguity. That can lead one to take a more conservative stance.

The Stress of Change

Young people tend to be more flexible and able to adapt to the demands of change. Battling the life challenges brought about by mental and physical changes, older people tend to prefer situations and a lifestyle that is predictable and unlikely to have any major alterations.

This posting included information from a very interesting piece on the Psychology Today website; for the full article, go here.