Two more items on age and wisdom came across the ether today:
A University of Michigan study found that older adults are more able to accept differing personal values, see others’ points of view, live with uncertainty and accept change over time. This “social wisdom” gave them a particular advantage in approaching situations of societal conflict.
This is no doubt what The Elders have in mind (www.theelders.org). Their mission statement: “The Elders are an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela, who offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity.” Clearly, governments need to give this group a bigger stage and more influence in international relations!
Dr. Lynn Hasher of the University of Toronto, lauded the Michigan study as more evidence that we need to move beyond “the mostly loss-based findings reported in psychology.” She also mentioned that there are implications for the continuing role of elders in micro-societies, like the workplace.
Also, an NC State study showed that older adults are as capable of making intuitive choices as younger adults. When the complexity of information to be filtered was greatly increased however, there was a divergence within the older group: some retained the ability of younger adults to make complex decisions while others had more difficulty. Some of this was reflected in educational levels. The study holds valuable insights as to how best to frame the presentation of complex information (such as health care plan choices) to this diverse group of people.