International Society for Theoretical Psychology Conference,
Paris, 25 - 30 April 1993

Threatening old age: an interdisciplinary study


Text of poster:

As a well known fact, behavior towards the very old aged varies enormously between different societies.
In addition, interindividual variance in that respect can even be greater: tender loving care, neglect, "granny dumping", aggression and murder.

How to explain such a broad range in such a common field of social interaction?
As a suggestion: Social Psychology can use behavioral and evolutionary biology as a tool to become Theoretical Psychology.

1) Traits or drives increasing individual survival time beyond the
    reproductive phase cannot be selected.
2) No evidence of caring behavior for antecedent generations can be
    found in vertebrates.
3) There is no waste of energy by fighting between generations,
    the old stay back after loss of dominant positions.

These general biological statements about the old-age-phenotype provide a "null" or "neutrality hypothesis" presented for discussion:

In absence of any (phylo-) genetic predispositions towards old aged individuals, attitudes and behavior regulations rest an ontogenetic input.

Implications for social welfare and health services are cautiously drawn.
(no data are presented)

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