New study shows why older people are more trusting…and more open to scams

December 5th, 2012 2 Comments

According to the FTC, 80% of scam victims in the U.S. are over the age of 65. A new study from UCLA and funded by the National Institute on Aging shows why older people may fall prey to scams than do younger people. The study showed photos of faces to two groups. One group was comprised of 119 older people, ages 55-84. The other group had 24 younger people, ages 20-42. They were asked to rank the photos as Trustworthy, Neutral, or Untrustworthy. The photos were judged according to insincere smiles, averted eyes, smirky mouths, etc.

The anterior insula in the brain is what detects untrustworthiness or shiftiness. Interestingly, in the older group, the anterior insula showed little activation when looking at an untrustworthy-looking face, whereas the younger group’s anterior insula became very active. This can help explain why older adults tend to see the positive in people and tend to trust individuals who aren’t trustworthy.

At Visiting Angels NJ, you can rest assured our home care aides can be trusted. We thoroughly screen and have background checks on each aide.

For more on this study, read the story on

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