human's are not the only species to have a midlife crisis

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Looking through articles in Time Magazine I came across an article that caught my eye. It was titled, "Even Apes Have 'Midlife Crises,' Study Finds. Andrew Oswald is a professor of economics at the University of Warwick in England. Oswald and his team conducted a study on 508 great apes from different research facilities and zoos across the U.S., Australia, Canada, Singapore and Japan. Oswald created a questionnaire for the caretakers of the apes and other people who observed the apes to answer. The questionnaire consisted of four different questions; the degree to which the apes were in a positive or negative mood, how much pleasure the ape got from acting in social situations, how successful the apes were in achieving goals and the caretakers and observers were asked how happy they would be if they were the ape for a week.

When research was conducted for midlife crises related to humans, results showed a U-shaped pattern. Studies suggest that happiness fluctuates between ages twenty to seventy. The degree of happiness is highest when humans are in their twenties, is at its lowest point in their forties and then reaches another high peak at age seventy. The same results were generated in the ape study. The results were adjusted to meet an apes shorter life span, put a U-shape pattern was generated related to the apes happiness. Oswald concludes that a midlife crisis could be evolutionary and not directly related to life events.

Although Oswald's study does produce results that are similar to findings of humans, I am not quite convinced. For one, there is no set scale in place for caretakers and observers to measure the apes happiness. Apes can not talk, so there is no way to know for certain that the observations are completely accurate. Another aspect that can effect the study is the bias and opinions of the caretakers and observers. With all of these factors taken into consideration, the results of the study could very well be misleading. If Oswald creates scales for the apes mood and success-fulness to be measured from, the results would be much more convincing.

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I thought that this was very interesting. But what I found most intriguing is that psychological research has done numerous experiments on whether or not there is a midlife crisis in humans and many researchers don't believe that there is a midlife crisis at all. According to this article about a Human and family development studies professor at Penn State, the midlife crisis in humans is actually a myth and does not exist.

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