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Cafe Society to discuss the psychology of aging

By Staff | Mar 4, 2016

The next Cafe Society discussion on March 8 will include students participating in the Shepherd University (SU) course on the Psychology of Aging. It will focus on relationships and communications across the generations. These informal weekly discussions are held from 8:30 to 10 a.m. in the Rumsey Room of the Shepherd University Student Center each Tuesday morning. Pre-registration is not required and there are no fees or charges.

Cafe facilitator Mike Austin commented, “This discussion will get at the primary reason we launched the Cafe Society to enhance the interaction between our older members of the community and the younger generation particularly SU students. We hope to shed some light on the biases held by students toward older people and conversely examine some of the misperceptions we might have about them. It will look at how we communicate with each other in terms both of methods and content. And of course, being a psychology class, an important consideration will be the receptivity we might and might not have towards each other. In addition our regular participants will be interviewed to help the students examine theses they have developed about older people and validate their hypotheses. It will be sort of a “due diligence” examination in human rather than business terms.”

Austin added, “Because of the changing dynamics of modern society, we tend to be much more insular within our respective age groups than ever before. Today there are in effect three generations interacting in varying degrees of effectiveness with each other. And there are important social and economic structural changes that alter the playing field. As in so many things, it is a matter of managing expectations, understanding the aspirations of younger people in a far more complex world than we faced at a similar juncture in life. The fabric of our society is altered significantly in that each generation is buffeted by differing influences, and constraints. There are in effect time and distance factors, new kinds of gulfs across which we have to communicate. Further the background noise is a huge deterrent. There is a significant amount of obfuscation, much of it unintended, but some of it deliberate that affects the fidelity of our communications with each other. There is a discovery process as well, in that both groups at either end of the spectrum might find each actually interesting and having something of value to impart. I am sure that it will be an enlightening experience for all of us.”

Those with suggestions for future Society topics or who want more information should contact Austin at 304-876-0598 or michael.austin@