Friday, October 05, 2007

Older and mouthier

…Writing in Newsweek (Oct 8, 2007), Sharon Begley talks about how some seniors tend to make racist remarks like calling people “colored.”

…It is not their generation or how they were taught. Seems the frontal lobes shrink as we age and can lead to blurting out weird stuff.

…This is the area of the brain providing inhibitions, encouraging social niceties. Inhibitory control—as the scientists put it—can wane as we age.

…They tested this, of course. Docs at Australia Univ of Queensland gave volunteers paragraphs with distracting words in the text and asked them to read it aloud without the distracting words.

…Begley said it would be like reading her article all except for words beginning in “s.”

…Then they tested racist attitudes.

…The subjects only blurted out racist comments to the degree that they could not avoid the distracting words.

…So that, kids, accounts for why Grandma might ask you some embarrassing questions or say things in front of your significant other.

…Plus—it’s fun!

….OK, HA added that. She tries to stick to inappropriate use of the F word and telling kids to get off her lawn.

…But there’s time yet.

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