Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
Heard it on the radio, found it here.
Gerontologists and crime experts agree the elderly are more vulnerable to fraud and many have assumed it’s because of diminished brain capacity, as well as because retired people often have more assets and more time on their hands. But new research suggests that older people’s vulnerability might have more to do with the way older brains process visual cues.
“You know the ‘uh oh’ sense you get sometimes, the little sense that something is not quite right?” [UCLA Psych. Prof. Shelley] Taylor asks. “It’s not something you can necessarily verbalize. That’s what the older adults aren’t getting.”
Taylor’s team did two studies. In one, they asked 119 people aged 55 to 84 to look at photographs of people’s faces and rate them for trustworthiness, using standard cues that have been well-studied. They asked 24 young adults in their 20s to do the same.
The two age groups tended to react the same to the “trustworthy” and neutral faces. But those in the older group were far less likely to agree with the young people on who looked “untrustworthy.”
“They missed facial cues that are pretty easily distinguished,” Taylor said. “Is something going on the brain that would explain this pattern?”
To see, Taylor’s team set up a second study using functional magnetic resonance imaging or fMRI – a way to look at brain activity in real time. They studied 23 older adults aged 55 to 80 and 21 younger adults, with an average age of 33.
“We wanted to find out whether there are differences in how the brain reacts to these faces, and the answer is yes, there are,” Taylor said.
In the younger adults, an area of the brain called the anterior insula was active when they were examining all the faces, but especially when looking at those with expressions or characteristics that people associate with being untrustworthy. This brain region did not activate nearly so much in the older people.
“Their brains are not saying ‘be wary,’ as the brains of the younger adults are,” Taylor said.
This sounds familiar to Laura Carstensen, a professor of psychology at Stanford University who specializes in how older people respond to the world. “Older people tend to prefer good over bad,” she agreed.
The differences might not necessarily mean dysfunction, says Carstensen, who was not involved in Taylor’s research. “It’s not about chronological age so much as closeness to death,” she said. All people tend to monitor how much time they have left on this planet, consciously or unconsciously. Younger people with terminal illness often respond the same way older people do, by looking at the bright side of things.
So, to recap: They can see the difference in the way the brain lights up, in younger people, while the subjects are looking at photographs of these shysters and scalawags. The brains of the older people aren’t even lighting up. And if I’m reading this right, the research is suggesting this isn’t necessarily a diminished-brain-capacity thing or a stripped-gears kind of a thing, but more of a perspective thing.
I just can’t see this happening to me. Maybe my mindset is one shared by people who check out earlier than that, and I just won’t make it. Or, maybe I’m a functional outlier, reading studies on the averages that are essentially useless in my case. Either way, there’s a question that naturally sort of pops up, and it’s a bit frustrating that the article doesn’t go into it: What of the factors that one would necessarily expect to be applied in the opposite direction? Limited resources, limited prospects for revenue, fixed income, the fear of outliving one’s solvency. We know, in other situations, those concerns are present and they do have an effect on how the senior set behaves. How come they seem to be taking a holiday, at the brain/synapse level, when the time comes to get swindled?
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