Elderly Brains Can’t Process Scams, Misleading Information, Two Studies Show

A psychological study conducted by Professor Shelley Taylor reported this week that a section of the brain known as the anterior insula is to blame for elderly people being more susceptible to fall victim to scams. This new information creates an interesting addition to a study conducted earlier in the year by researchers at the University of Iowa, which recorded that aging of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex results in a lessened ability to process doubt and skepticism when taking in visual information.

Prof. Taylor, of the University of California Los Angeles, conducted a study wherein 119 elderly residents of a senior living home, between the ages 55 and 84, were shown photos of both neutral/trustworthy faces and faces which showcased visual cues that alert us to non trustworthiness, such as a shifty gaze, smiling without the eyes and facial hair, and asked to rate their level of trustworthiness. The same faces were shown to a group of 24 staff and students between the ages of 20 and 42. While both groups reported equal ratings of trustworthiness while assessing the neutral faces, the elderly group was found to be incapable of picking up on the visual cues provided in the untrustworthy photos.

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Elderly Brains Can’t Process Scams, Misleading Information, Two Studies Show


3 Responses to “Elderly Brains Can’t Process Scams, Misleading Information, Two Studies Show”

  1. Joecitizen Says:

    Wow… I have to pipe in here to write that, although I am an advocate for the vulnerable elderly, this study by the professor is based on purely subjective perceptions. Facial expressions change with cultures, even geographical locations.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I believe this as I've seen it in action. I think when people become elderly, many become one dimensional in their thinking. They're still competent, but need to be leery.

  3. Thelma Says:

    Yeah, Joe, I agree with you.

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