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Scientists find out the reason why gran knows best

It may be no accident that grandma's such a sweet old lady.

Scientists have discovered that "emotional intelligence" only peaks when people enter their 60s.

As a result, older generations are more sensitive and empathic than younger members of society, and are better at seeing the positive side of stressful situations.

The US scientists believe it makes sense that humans developed an enhanced "caring" side near the end of their lives.

"Increasingly, it appears that the meaning of late life centres on social relationships and caring for and being cared for by others," said psychologist Professor Robert Levenson, from the University of California at Berkeley.


"Evolution seems to have tuned our nervous systems in ways that are optimal for these kinds of interpersonal and compassionate activities as we age."

In one study, the scientists looked at how 144 healthy adults in their 20s, 40s and 60s reacted to neutral, sad and "disgusting" film clips.

Participants were asked to adopt a detached and objective attitude, show no emotion, or focus on the positive aspects of what they were seeing.

The findings showed it was easier for older people to see negative scenes in a positive light. This is a recognised coping strategy that draws on life experience and lessons learned from the past.