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Centre Avançat de Teràpia Cognitiu-Conductual (CATCC)

Updated on March 13, 2015

You Are Not Alone: Great Apes Also Suffer From The Midlife Crisis

Regardless of economic differences and both in men and in women, happiness in humans shows a U-shaped profile. That is, happiness is higher in youth, falls during midlife and recovers in older ages provided that your life is not next to its end.

The midlife crisis is not, however, restricted to humans. After studying 336 chimpanzees and 172 orangutans, researchers observed a similar U-shaped progression of their happiness.

Explanations for this phenomenon seem especially enlightening. The midlife crisis appears to fade away when humans and apes give up those improbable aspirations of the midlife such as winning the Nobel Prize or becoming the alpha male. Seniors seem to increase their happiness by seeking situations and social interactions associated with positive emotions, and by pursuing only those targets that are age-consistent. In short, they learn to walk away from unpleasant contexts and fellows and quit running after unattainable dreams of glory, wealth and mating.

Source: Weiss A, King JE, Inoue-Murayama M, Matsuzawa T, Oswald AJ. Evidence for a midlife crisis in great apes consistent with the U-shape in human well-being. PNAS 2012;109(49):19949-19952.
http://www.pnas.org/content/109/49/19949

The Dark Side of Personality

Members of the dark triad of personality (narcissism, machiavellianism and psychopathy) share egocentrism, coldness and manipulation to achieve their aims at the expense of others.

Fortunately, most people prefer not being that dark. However, some traits such as the narcissistic charm, physical attractiveness and ambition to succeed seem quite desirable for most people.

Source: Rauthmann JF, Kolar GP. How “dark” are the Dark Triad traits? Examining the perceived darkness of narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. Personality and Individual Differences 2012;53(7):884-889.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2012.06.020

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