University of Queensland psychologist, Bill von Hippel, in his study issued by Current Directions in Psychological Science reports that “decreased inhibitory ability in late adulthood can lead to unintended prejudice, social inappropriateness, depression, and gambling problems”. It is caused by significant atrophy within the frontal lobes, the area responsible for executive functioning, i.e. planning, controlling, and inhibiting thought and behavior.
Based on the results of his study Bill von Hippel suggests:
– the older adults seemed to know the social rules but failed to follow them, which is consistent with diminished frontal lobe functioning;
– people who struggle to control their rumination begin to lose that battle as they age, with the end result being the emergence of depression late in life;
– a possible avenue for intervention, by scheduling their important social activities or gambling excursions earlier in the day.