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Older Aussies more trusting, at risk of financial exploitation

‘Trust. Noun. The reliance on the integrity, justice, etc of a person, or on some quality or attribute of a thing; confidence.’

That is the first definition the Macquarie Dictionary has for the word trust. There are another 22 definitions or explanations.

The simplest is number 15 – to believe.

As a quality, to be trustworthy is admirable, to be trusting is perhaps less so. Knowing who to trust or when to trust is often a gut feeling, or something we might expect to learn with age.

But a new study by researchers at Western Sydney University has found that we get more trusting as we get older. Furthermore, as we age, we are less likely to remember and pay attention to negative information and therefore are vulnerable to financial exploitation.

Researchers suggest this can be down to motivation changes as we age – older adults are motivated by emotional satisfaction and positive things – or even physical changes in brain activity.

Associate professor of psychology at Western Sydney University Phoebe Bailey joins Aged Care Insite to talk more about the study’s findings.

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