Society for Theoretical Psychology Conference,
Paris, 25 - 30 April 1993
old age: an interdisciplinary study
Text of poster:
As a well known fact, behavior towards the very old aged varies
enormously between different societies.
In addition, interindividual variance in that respect can even
be greater: tender loving care, neglect, "granny dumping",
aggression and murder.
How to explain such a broad range in such a common field of social
As a suggestion: Social Psychology can use behavioral and evolutionary
biology as a tool to become Theoretical Psychology.
1) Traits or drives increasing individual survival time beyond
reproductive phase cannot be selected.
2) No evidence of caring behavior for antecedent generations can
found in vertebrates.
3) There is no waste of energy by fighting between generations,
the old stay back after loss of dominant positions.
These general biological statements about the old-age-phenotype
provide a "null" or "neutrality hypothesis"
presented for discussion:
In absence of any (phylo-) genetic predispositions towards
old aged individuals, attitudes and behavior regulations rest
an ontogenetic input.
Implications for social welfare and health services are cautiously
(no data are presented)