Why We Don’t Change Our Minds When We Get Older

Mr. Beat is a social studies teacher who specializes in making history and geography more engaging

Ever wonder why people become less openminded as they get older? You do? Well good news, because Mr. Beat explains why, you openminded person you.

Check out Heimler's History video about Outrage Culture here:

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A special thanks to my wife, Mrs. Beat, for helping me with this video, and to Drew Gerber, my former student, for lending his music:

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Produced by Matt Beat. All images by Matt Beat, found in the public domain, or used under fair use guidelines. Music by Drew Gerber.

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Bryanjao

Senate Democrats

I am Mr. Beat. But can I actually change your mind?

These folks on the subreddit /r/changmyview SEEM to want their minds changed. Steven Crowder SEEMS to want his mind changed. Oh well this is interesting. This person defending Steven Crowder’s Change My Mind series also wants their mind changed. And holy crap. They changed their mind! Delta awarded! hahaha!

But yeah...no. I probably can’t change your mind, as you’re likely more attached to emotion and group affiliation than you are facts. However if you are over 30 years old, it’s even MORE unlikely that I can change your mind.

Me: Don’t believe me?

Shannon: No

Me: Well maybe I can change your mind.

Think of it as this graph that I totally didn’t just crudely draw up and is sooo scientific. On the y axis is a measure of open mindedness. In other words, how willing someone is to change their minds. On the x axis is age. As you can see on the graph, we begin life extremely open minded, but that goes steadily down once we reach our teenage years, then become a bit more open minded in our twenties as this is when we break away from families to start our own families, go to college and start new careers, move away, and just are willing to take bigger risks. But after that, the pattern resumes and we become less and less open minded until the day we die. I tried changing my grandpa’s mind once. It didn’t go so well.

And this trend takes place across all cultures. It’s pretty universal. What’s that? You don’t believe me? Well perhaps I can change your mind. So why are older folks generally less open minded?

But first, this video is a collaboration with Mr. Heimler of Heimler’s History. He made a video about the outrage culture we see on the internet these days. Be sure to check it out when you’re done watching this one!

So why are older folks generally less open minded? First of all, older folks tend to be smarter. The very fact that they know more makes it more difficult for them to learn something new. Since they have more existing knowledge, this causes them to inevitably have more biases.

Second, younger learners have inherently more flexible minds. We apparently evolved this way. One theory says that we have to be exploratory when we are younger in order to act more effectively as adults. As children get older, frontal areas of the brain- the part of the brain associated with a more focused attention, better planning, and executive control- limit what the rest of the brain can do. In other words, adults may be pretty good at stuff, but only because they were easily able to experiment and discover during the learning process.

Third, older learners process new information slower than younger learners.

#psychology #socialstudies #sschat

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