Thought paper # 5


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Fall 2011 USC Gero-520; Sample Thought Paper 2 Facebook and Wrinkles Throughout the aging process there is a dynamic change in the stimuli that is considered salient. This theory is spelled out in Carstensen’s At the Intersection of Emotion and Cognition paper; where she talks about socioemotional selectivity theory. This theory postulates that younger individuals look toward future goals and aspirations as the most salient stimuli. In opposition to this outlook is the elderly, who find the most important information to be that which relates to social interconnectedness and meaningful relationships. What the elderly want most in terms of happiness is social interaction, and to feel like they belong to a community. For the younger generations, how is social media going to affect them when their outlooks begin to change? It is not uncommon for a user of facebook to have several hundred friends; if they use twitter, then tack on another couple hundred followers. So this means their old age is going to be characterized by ecstasy; due to all the social interaction and community involvement they could ever hope for? Right? Most likely not; there are many who would argue that in this day of complete connection, we are more alone now than ever. The socioemotional theory, for elderly, says that they want meaningful relationships. It is dubious if a poke on facebook counts as that. So then how will these generations just growing up now, cope with the loneliness of old age? It is completely possible that the findings of socioemotional theory might not be translatable to future generations. This nascent theory has not had time to prove itself over multiple generations; nor has the field of psychology been able to see how the aging process will affect those of the technological generation. In an age where a group of friends hanging out can consist of every one of them on their cell phones, maybe face to face interaction is no longer what drives them. That being said, if…