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Why do people want to know the ages of those they are in contact with


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Hello social psychologists. I've been pondering over this and i'm now sure whether there are any studies that has elaborated the concept of people asking others about their ages. Why do the people inquire about the other's age from him or her ask and how does a affirmative or negative reply influence his or her perception of that individual? Any academic explanations (if possible, back up with theories or cite resources to read for more explanation)?

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We know a great deal about aging, that there is cogntive decline, increased susceptibility to stress and associated hormone sectrion, physiological changes, etc.


We we ask about age it could be because awareness of such general truths help to inform you of how to interact with the individual, but perhaps even more honest, would be studies looking at perception of age.  That is, the stereotypes we associate with the young, middle aged, and old.  By asking someones age you can roughly gauge them on these traits and learn something of them, which may not be entirely correct, is grounded in something you hold to be correct.


We certainly treat older doctors differently than younger, older mothers than young ones, etc etc.  Age is obviously relevant to us in forming our perception of an individual in a relatively quick manner.


To another end, sometimes we just ask because we can.  When asking, "Hows the weather?" we do not need a indepth theory to understand why someone asks this, because not everything has to have some hidden deeper meaning.  Sometimes we ask how is the weather, what is your job, and how old are you, just because we want to know, are bored, want to make pleasant conversation or want to fill up awkward silence.

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