Altruism Increases with Age

By Pete Lane, 9:00 am on

Most senior citizens are usually more generous compared to young adults. In many nations, there is a stereotype that links generosity with aging. In a recent study conducted at the University of Oregon, several scientists thoroughly analyzed the relationship between altruism and age. The results are surprising to both scientists and Centennial home care providers.

Ulrich Mayr, a researcher that holds a top position in the university’s psychology department, led the study. Professor Mayr was assisted by his fellow student, Jason Hubbard, who was pursuing his doctorate degree at the time. These two academic experts invited 80 individuals to participate in an experiment that was supposed to scientifically verify whether or not senior persons are more altruistic than their younger counterparts. Some of the participants in the study were as young as 18, and others were as old as 67. 

Advanced MRI technology was utilized to scan the brain activities of the subjects who were presented with various situations involving charitable donations and personal financial gain. In some hypothetical situations, the participants were given a choice to keep money for themselves or to give it to others. Additionally, each participant also completed a comprehensive psychological evaluation. The MRI scans focused on neural activity in the part of the brain that is responsible for producing feelings of satisfaction. According to the study, individuals older than 45 are truly satisfied when their actions help other people in need. To a certain extent, the experiment proved that altruism increases with age. 

Based on the personal assessments that were done in the experiment, religion plays a key role in altruism. Religion often encourages generous acts, so people of faith tend to contribute significant sums of money to charitable causes all over the world. To the surprise of the researchers, major factors such as income and political beliefs do not have a significant impact on altruism in people.

Show your appreciation for the generous senior in your life by hiring a trusted home care provider to help your loved one around the house. Home Care Assistance provides flexible hourly and live-in senior home care in Centennial that helps seniors tackle daily chores and activities without taking away their independence. Meet with a reliable Care Manager today by calling 303.957.3100 to schedule a no-obligation consultation over the phone.