Older people are really friendlier! Older people are more likely than young people to do things that benefit others – including social distancing and giving to charities, study finds
- Older people are more likely to do things that benefit others, new research shows
- That includes social distancing during the Covid pandemic and donating to charities
- Young people are more likely to donate to international charities than older people
- Women were found to be nicer than men, and richer people gave less to charity
Older people are more likely than younger people to do things that benefit others, such as social distancing during the Covid pandemic and making charitable donations, new research suggests.
Women were generally found to be kinder than men, while wealth seemed to have a negative effect on philanthropy, with those who considered themselves better off donating less to charities.
There’s also a big gap in the kinds of charities age groups prefer to help, the researchers said.
Young people are more likely to donate to international charities, while older people prefer to donate to charities in their own country.
Older people are more likely to do things that benefit others, such as social distancing during the Covid pandemic and making charitable donations, new research suggests (stock image)
People really want to be nice to each other, even if it costs them something
People really want to be nice to each other.
Researchers found that people overwhelmingly choose to be generous to others, even at the expense of themselves and regardless of external motives.
The study, conducted online, asked participants to give money to other people, which the team believed would lead subjects to expect something in return for their generosity.
However, the experiment found that volunteers were largely willing to give cash to strangers without any motivation behind it — just the idea of helping the individual.
Read more: People want to be nice to each other, even if it costs them, research says
In the study, led by the University of Birmingham, experts analyzed data from a global survey of 46,576 people aged 18 to 99 in 67 countries.
It was conducted between April and May 2020 and was used to examine whether age can predict how much social distancing someone was willing to maintain during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as their willingness to donate to hypothetical charities.
The authors found that age predicted friendlier behavior on both measures, with greater distance and donations among older adults compared to their younger counterparts.
“Older age was associated with more prosocial behavior on two robust, complementary and acutely relevant measures,” the authors, led by Dr. Jo Cutler, wrote in their paper.
‘However, age was also associated with more in-group focus in who gets help. Older people donated more to national, but less to international, hypothetical charities than younger adults.’
They added: ‘The serious risk to older adults from Covid-19 may have prevented personal prosocial behavior such as volunteering.
“However, older adults were especially willing to help others during a global crisis in terms of complying with public health measures and supporting charities working in their country.”
The perceived risk was not significantly associated with social distancing, the researchers said.
Nor did the severity of Covid-19 in any given country change the fact that older people were more willing to adhere to public health measures than their younger counterparts.
Young people are more likely to donate to international charities, while older people prefer to donate to charities in their own country (stock image)
Meanwhile, respondents were found to give twice as much to national charities as international nonprofits, and this desire to do so increased with age.
For every age increase of 16 years, donations increased by 1.5 percent, the researchers said.
“Notably, subjective wealth had a negative effect: those who perceived themselves as richer donated less,” they wrote.
The authors said they hoped their research would have important implications for improving compliance with public health measures and predicting the social and economic impacts of ageing.
“Our findings have essential implications for predicting the social and economic consequences of an aging population, increasing compliance with public health measures and encouraging charitable donations,” they concluded.
The research is published in the journal Nature Aging.