Turns out, 80-year-olds as street-smart as 18-year-olds

Here is what the findings suggest.

Washington: When it comes to being street-savvy, we are as sharp when we're 80 as when we're 18, according to a new research.

Older people are as good as young adults at knowing when someone is potentially aggressive, and being streetwise appears to be a skill honed in childhood but not fully reliable until adulthood. The new research, led by University of Portsmouth's Liam Satchell, is the third study he has led on examining our ability at various ages to gauge others' aggression.

He said that older people can be reassured that their gut instincts about who is posing a danger are generally "excellent" and added that the results could encourage older people to recognise they are street smart, that their gut instincts are spot on. Satchell noted, "Until now, there has been little conclusive evidence of older people's ability to detect everyday street threats."

The latest results are from a small-scale study and he said more research needs to be done to assess, for example, whether the older people who agree to take part in a scientific study are, by nature, also confident and likely to be less worried about crime. His study examined threat perception in 39 people aged 59-91, and in 87 people aged 20-28.

Nearly all - 95 percent - of both groups correctly gauged the aggression, or level of intimidation, of five women and four men filmed walking on a treadmill. The 'walkers' had been selected after taking a renowned aggression test to ensure they represented a wide cross-section of degrees of aggression. Satchell continued, "The findings overall suggest we develop a streetwise ability, that we are able to make judgments about others and our safety, once we reach adulthood."

The study is published in Europe's Journal of Psychology.

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