A study carried out in New Zealand reveal that old people have a problem in perceiving emotions, which shows itself in their inability to understand a social blunder.
Researchers at the University of Otago studied 121 participants, of whom half were above 60 years of age and the others were between 18 and 35, as they discussed the behavior of a character in video clips of a British sitcom, 'The Office'. They were asked to rate the behavior of the character as socially appropriate or inappropriate.
They also went through tests that evaluated how well they were able to gauge emotion expressed through facial gestures, verbal expressions and body language.
The study concludes that people over the age of sixty were not as good as young people in understanding emotions. They cannot recognize anger, sadness or fear. Being unable to identify emotions could harm social relationships that would lead to social isolation.
Ted Ruffman, an associate professor at the university's Department of Psychology who took part in the study states, "Understanding age-related changes in emotion recognition and social skills can provide insight into the aging process and ways to improve elderly people's quality of life."