Resistance to technology and resistance to change are linked together – this is how the findings of two American researchers from the fields of psychology and marketing can be summarized. In four consecutive pilot studies, the duo examined how a person’s age affects the way they judge technology. They also took into account the age of the technology itself.
Specifically, the test subjects evaluated technological innovations such as the Nintendo DS or Xbox 360, a pacemaker, floppy disk, audio cassette, microwave oven or electric toothbrush. They had to assess whether the devices had a positive impact on society.
What was already there is good
In a first study, researchers initially found that people rated technology better if they thought it was invented 15 years before they were born, rather than 15 years later. The study authors attribute this to status quo bias, known colloquially as “the power of habit.” “In fact, people view technology positively when they are not old enough to remember the introduction of that technology into society. On the other hand, the technologies that are invented over the course of a person’s life, disrupt the status quo and thus become less positively evaluated” he writes researchers.
Subsequent studies revealed that people’s age also has an impact on how they judge technology. People who are older at the time of the invention tend to rate it more negatively. The authors note that this effect is strongest in people with the highest levels of status quo bias.
Early experiences have a positive effect on the image
The point in time at which you come into contact with the technology also plays a role. Thus, early experience with technology leads to a more favorable assessment.
“Premature birth and exposure to it earlier in life than at the time of invention make people more likely to see technology as part of the status quo,” the researchers summarize. This explains the prevailing skepticism about artificial intelligence.
According to the researchers, if new technologies are reported or promoted, they should be linked to existing technologies so that people can relate new inventions to their status quo.
The University of Oregon has investigated how a certain aspect of new technologies affects aging. The research team there found that Blue light from cell phones, etc. causes fruit flies to age faster. The effect of artificial blue light on humans is not yet clear. However, the results should be similar to those of fruit flies, as you can read here.
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