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Scientists use The Office to discover why old people are embarrassing

Grandparents: They provide you with love and hard candy, but they also have this embarrassing need to express themselves. Scientists in New Zealand claim to have finally discovered what it is that makes the elderly so likely to humiliate their ungrateful young charges (besides the fact that they’ve earned the right), and they accomplished this by getting old people to watch the original, British version of The Office and gauging their reactions. As it turns out, participants over 60 were less able to determine when Ricky Gervais was behaving appropriately, whether he was making a fool of himself by dancing awkwardly or “abandoning a wheelchair-bound woman in a stairwell during a fire alarm”—two things that younger test subjects realized were totally not cool, bro, but which older people seemed to accept as rational behavior. They had further difficulty recognizing emotions through facial expressions on a follow-up exams, leading scientists to conclude that, as we get older, we become much worse at recognizing other people’s feelings and thus drawing conclusions about what is and isn’t socially kosher, leading to our own inevitable faux pas. Or, you know, perhaps we just get tired of giving a shit? Where's the "giving a shit" study? [via Gawker]

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