Conventional wisdom says that people become politically more conservative as they age, but sociologists say this isn’t true.

Researchers Nicholas L. Danigelis and Stephen J. Cutler base this new conclusion on data from 25 surveys done between 1972 and 2004 that measured the changes in attitudes that occur within specific groups at different stages in life. The political leanings of over 40,000 Americans were examined with regard to how they felt about the political and economic roles of historically subordinate groups (e.g., women and African-Americans); the civil liberties of groups considered outside the US mainstream (e.g., atheists and homosexuals); and privacy issues (e.g., right-to-die and sex between consenting adults).

Results showed that although changes occurred in other groups, the movement among the older group was greater and was most often toward “increased tolerance rather than increased conservatism.”

Danigelis says, “It proves that some of the commonly held beliefs about older people being rigid and unwilling to change aren’t true.?

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