Researchers at Northwestern University have published the results of two studies measuring trust as we age. The first study, conducted over 26 years, showed older people had higher levels of trust in others than younger people. Those study participants who had higher levels of interpersonal trust also reported higher levels of wellbeing. The second study was conducted to confirm these results. Participants were followed for four years and compared across age groups. This study also showed that interpersonal trust increased as we age.There is a stereotype of the elderly becoming more cynical and suspicious as they age, but these studies show otherwise. The researchers did not study reasons for these findings, but they did speculate that it could be due to a number of factors. Older people tend to be more optimistic and forgiving of the small personality clashes they have with others. They also tend to be better judges of character, with this perhaps stemming from a lifetime of experiences with both trustworthy and deceitful people.
However, there can be a downside. Sometimes a senior citizen gets duped by a fraudster trying to steal from them. But overall, an increase in interpersonal trust has significant benefits to overall health and feelings of well-being.
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