Thursday, August 17, 2006

Obnoxious and Cranky? You're Very Intelligent! (If You're 60+)

So the real question is: do our personalities change as we get older? Jacqueline Bichsel and colleagues at Morgan State College in Baltimore say yes. Younger intelligent people explore adventurous avenues to learn new and different things. Older people, according to Bichsel's study, just get cranky. Or maybe impatient. Or maybe really irritated. Maybe when a patronizing person calls a 60+ year-old professional woman "young lady" or raises the voice volume to ear-piercing levels, speaking slowly, as to a child. Maybe then, an intelligent 60+ person may come up with a few choice words, articulate, to the point, OK--cranky! And maybe really intelligent people just have infinitely more word choices available to them to show their displeasure.

I found Mary Blair Immel's "My Turn" in the July 31 Newsweek great for summing up the likely feelings of so many really intelligent people as they get older. Take a look at "I'm Old--And I'm Just Fine With That." The sub-title is even better: "Think I need to hear platitudes and "compliments" to feel good about myself. Think again."

Suppose we could have a study on exactly what incites this crankiness in the 60+ crowd? Which personality traits would those be?

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