Juan Ignacio Pérez Iglesias Updated: Save Send news by mail electrónicoTu name *

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“the kids Now love luxury. They have bad manners, scorn authority, have no respect for the older and prefer the talk to exercise.” is older people say similar things frequently . It is not something new: we have been told, at least, since we have written records of what they thought of our ancestors.

The appointment enclosed with the one that opens this text attributed to Socrates . If that were true, if young people are increasingly disolutos, more lawless, more idle, or more crazy, to cite just a few of the defects that they tend to attribute, the youth –and with her the rest of mankind, would have degenerated in a way hardly bearable. Something is wrong in those assessments.

An investigation, whose findings were released in 2019, addressed this issue when inquiring about the phenomenon so-called “effect today” (these days, effect in English). To do this we examined the views of older people about how they have evolved three traits from our youth until the youth of today. The traits are: respect for older people, the intelligence and the taste for reading.

The general conclusion of the study is that there is, indeed, a general tendency to speak ill of the youth in terms of respect for elders and the passion for reading. There is also a tendency to evaluate negatively to the young people in those traits in which one stands or believes to note, something common to the three traits investigated.

When an adult person is very respectful of authority, they tend to think that young people now respect your elders unless young people of his time. The same thing happens with the intelligence and with the fans to read. The effect is so specific to each trait, because, for example, someone who is very fond of reading but that they valued little the authority is not inclined to think that the youth of today have no respect for the elderly as they are respected before.

In other words, the “effect today,” does not consist in an undervaluing or poor overall opinion of the youth, but that is confined to domains relatively specific.

to Detect failures, to project qualities

the authors of The study identified two mechanisms that underlie the effect. On the one hand, they noted that those who stand out in any trait have a tendency to perceive the bugs in that same trait of the other, both in the young as in adults.

on the other hand, tend to project their current features to the past, making the mistake of thinking that when they were young they had the same virtues or traits favourable than in the present. That’s why comparing as they see themselves today with the young people, without realizing that they are not now as they were forty years ago . This same bias has been acting for millennia, with all that this implies.

If we take centuries, evaluating in a negative way to young people “of today”, it is very unlikely that the older we stop doing it in later. For that reason, when you hear their family members, colleagues or even discover himself by saying that young people now are undisciplined, have no respect for their elders, do not read, came worse ready to the university, or similar things, before you nod or to continue with the diatribe thinks that it used to be said the greeks nearly twenty-five centuries .

Juan Ignacio Pérez Iglesias is a Professor of Physiology, University of the Basque Country / Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (spain)

This article was originally published on The Conversation.

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