Are older people more heterogeneous that young people?

Are older people more heterogeneous that young people?

Over the years, the debate on the difference between younger and older generations has taken significance in the social sphere. Scholars propose that the psychological, emotional, and behavioral characteristics of a young adult are practically different from that of an older adult (Coleman 258). While this may be so, several analysts have left out the question of whether the uniformity of behavioral, mental, and emotional traits applies among the age groups. For example, scholars argue that young adults are more explorative than older adults; is the explorative nature, however, common among all young adults? How homogenous are people across different age groups? This essay explores some of the reasons why young people are more homogenous that the older people.

Firstly, young people are in the generation of technological advancement. As revealed by a study by Taylor and Richard, young people use modern means of communication such as mobile phones to share information, consequently influencing each other’s character (267). The ease of connectivity as a result of modern means of communication has made it easy to share information, and hence influence each other. As a result, young people exhibit uniformity of ideas and characters. On the other hand, older people hardly connect with their peers, thus decreasing the probability of influence amongst themselves.

According to psychological studies, young people are less principled than the older generation (Spreng et al. 1179). It is easy for a younger person to be swayed by the multitude than an elderly person. Young people can hardly stand their ground and are, thus, more susceptible to peer influence than the older generation. As a result, there are more shared traits among the young people since they typically conform to the generational wave.

The difference in the process of aging has also led to heterogeneity among the older generation. According to Hekimi and Leonard, the biological process of aging is different (1354). Some people age at a faster rate than others (Baltes and Karl 7). For instance, some women experience menopause at age 43 while others remain productive up to age 50. As a result, in the difference in aging, older people exhibit differences in character. On the other hand, young adults experience milestones in a relatively uniform manner.

Another reason why young people are more homogenous than older people is the difference in the amount of time spent socializing with the age-mates. As Taylor and Richard observe, young people spend more time with their peers than the old generation (269). For example, young people interact with age-groups while at school, in the workplace, or even in the social places. This increased contact makes the young adults easy victims of peer influence. On the other hand, most old people are unlikely to spend much time with their age-mates, unless if it is a family member or for them who are hosted in an elderly home.

The influence of the imaginary characters among the young generation has greatly contributed to the homogeneity of today’s young generation. As Lines illustrates, modern young people have denounced their personal individuality to emulate celebrities and media personalities (285). As a result, young people end up with similar characteristics as they struggle to copy their inspirational celebrities. On the contrary, older people are less inspired by the world’s celebrities and hence exhibit their real personality.



What are some of the reasons why young people could be more heterogeneous than the older people?

One of the striking reasons is that young people are more explorative and open-minded that the older people (Spreng et al., 1180). For this reason, young people tend to acquire new and unique traits as they explore various adventures in the word. On the contrary, the less adventurous old generation rarely explores unique ideas, and thus remains homogenous. However, it is important to acknowledge that due to the influence of peer pressure, almost all young people will eventually explore whatever new idea that they come across.

Another argument in support of the notion that older people are homogenous is the manner in which the elderly retain the morals of the society. Older people believe in a moral society as the major guide of their behavior ((Baltes and Karl 16). Strict adherence to the morals of the society explains the uniformity of behavior among the older people. Furthermore, the proponents of this idea argue that young people have a high disregard for the social morals which ought to regulate their behaviors. However, this idea does not consider the power of law in streamlining the youths’ behavior.

From the above arguments, it is apparent that young adults are more homogenous that than the older adults. Technology and ease of sharing ideas are among the factors that have increased homogeneity among the young people. Also, older people maintain unique characters because they are less susceptible. The understanding of the heterogeneous and homogeneous differences between the young and older people is an important aspect in the study of gerontology. It helps in reducing stereotypes among the community; for example, it becomes clear that although there are peculiar old age traits, they may not be uniformly distributed among the elderly


Baltes, B., & Karl U. (2001). The Berlin aging study: Aging from 70 to 100. Cambridge University Press,

Coleman, S. (2006). “Digital voices and analogue citizenship Bridging the gap between young people and the democratic process.” Public Policy Research 13.4: 257-261.

Hekimi, S., & L. (2003). “Genetics and the specificity of the aging process.” Science 299.5611: 1351-1354.

Lines, G. (2001). “Villains, fools or heroes? Sports stars as role models for young people.” Leisure studies 20.4: 285-303.

Spreng, R., Magdalena W., & Cheryl, G. (2010). “Reliable differences in brain activity between young and old adults: a quantitative meta-analysis across multiple cognitive domains.” Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 34.8: 1178-1194.

Taylor, A., & Richard, H. (2003). “The gift of the gab?: A design oriented sociology of young people’s use of mobiles.” Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) 12.3: 267-296.