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Truly hairy mid-life crises: chimps and orangs get them too

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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-25-12 11:01 AM
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Truly hairy mid-life crises: chimps and orangs get them too
Truly hairy mid-life crises: chimps and orangs get them too



By Sharon Begley

NEW YORK | Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:02pm EST

(Reuters) - <snip>

"We were just stunned" when data on the apes showed a U-shaped curve of happiness, said economist Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick in England and a co-author of the paper, which was published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

The U-shaped curve of human happiness and other aspects of well-being are as thoroughly documented as the reasons for it are controversial. Since 2002 studies in some 50 countries have found that well-being is high in youth, plunges in mid-life and rises in old age. The euphoria of youth comes from unlimited hopes and good health, while the contentment and serenity of the elderly likely reflects "accumulated wisdom and the fact that when you've seen friends and family die, you value what you have," said Oswald.


<snip>

They enlisted colleagues to assess the well-being of 155 chimps in Japanese zoos, 181 in U.S. and Australian zoos and 172 orangs in zoos in the United States, Canada, Australia and Singapore. Keepers, volunteers, researchers and caretakers who knew the apes well used a four-item questionnaire to assess the level of contentment in the animals, said psychologist Alex Weiss of Scotland's University of Edinburgh. One question, for instance, asked how much pleasure the animals - which ranged from infants to graybeards - get from social interactions.


All three groups of apes experienced mid-life malaise: a U-shaped contentment curve with the nadir at ages 28, 27 and 35, respectively, comparable to human ages of 45 to 50.

<snip>


An evolutionary explanation is even more intriguing. "Maybe nature doesn't want us to be contented in middle age, doesn't want us sitting around contentedly with our feet up in a tree," he said. "Maybe discontent lights a fire under people, causing them to achieve more" for themselves and their family.


More at http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/19/us-science-ap...

Fascinating.


In college, I very much resisted any idea of genetic determinism because I associated it with Jensenism/racism. And, I still do, whether that is rational or not. (To this day, I refuse to answer any questions about which race I am. I think there is too much danger of misuing that kind of info. Besides, I don't really really know 100% of my background.)

However, I see more and more that says things that we might call human "personality" may be hard wired.

And, for things like mid-life crisis, it's something of a relief to think it's hard=wired and not necessarily any kind of individual neurosis on your part.


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Enthusiast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-25-12 02:54 PM
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1. That's some interesting stuff, No Elephants. nt
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-25-12 03:46 PM
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2. Thanks. I never would have thought of that hypothesis.
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