Why, Do You Know, Why Reasons

Do you know the 'why' reasons, or, do the 'whys' often bother you for scientific explanations? For instance, you do know that stars twinkle, but do you know the reasons why, and how? Or, do you know the 'why' reasons behind falling in love? Or, do you know the reasons why dogs bury bones? Probably many of you don’t! Why Corner – the 'why' blog, answers these 'whys' for basic knowledge, with real reasons for the 'why' facts. So, just know them all here if you have the 'why' urge, that is!

Jan 21, 2008

Do you know why older people find it difficult to adapt to new gadgets and technology?

Prof. Know Why answers:

If you notice, you will find that newer and technologically advanced gadgets are mostly, if not always, targeted to the younger generation. Why? If you think - because they have more spending powers, think again! While it might be true and could be one reason, the main reason could very strongly be that older people find it difficult to adapt to new gadgets readily.

But why is that, psychologically predisposed older men and women find it difficult to take to new technology? Scientists claim to have worked out why people in their late 40s and 50s have to get their children to load their iPods for them. The older you get the more difficult it is for your conscious mind to override years of “pre-programming”, they say. Combined with damaging physical changes in the cell structure of the brain – the result of natural ageing and maybe a little alcohol – the effects can be, at best, confusing.

The research may explain why even people in early middle age find it difficult to use an iPod, or surf on their Black Berry, when their children take to new technology almost instinctively.

Lauren Potter, a lecturer in applied psychology at Heriot-Watt, and Madeleine Grealy, senior lecturer in psychology at Strathclyde, both in the UK, recruited two groups of 130 volunteers – one between the ages of 20 and 50 and the other over 60. They discovered that those in the upper age group found it increasingly hard to carry out daily tasks in new ways as did those aged 40 or above.

“The answer may be that older people are psychologically predisposed to find it harder than youngsters to override established ways of doing things”, said Grealy. “They will find it harder to adapt to digital TV, drive a new car with unfamiliar controls and use other modern tools and utensils.”

Potter believes certain actions, such as twisting rather than pulling and pushing taps, become deeply ingrained in the brain over time. When confronted with new devices or technology, the brain tries to adapt but is held back if there are physical changes in the frontal lobe area.

So, if you fall in this older-generation category like me, and find your son’s latest “Apple notebook” confusing, don’t think yourself, stupid! It’s only your age that has taken its toll!

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