Longevity leads to respect for ancient medical practice

Forget the next new thing: One study shows people value what's older.
Sep 03, 2010
By dvm360.com staff

Psychologists have shown evidence for a new bias among people: longevity. It turns out the old excuse of "But we've always done it that way" is a compelling argument for many. Faculty at the University of Arkansas conducted five experiments that asked different participants to judge university degree requirements, acupuncture, paintings, oak trees, and even the brand of chocolate—testing for people's differing response to information that the item in question was older. The "older" the item, the more positively the participants rated it. "Longevity promotes its own favorability," says study co-creator and University of Arkansas psychology professor Scott Eidelman. "Overcoming the status quo is tricky, but overcoming a time-honored tradition is substantially more difficult." Keep that in mind the next time your veterinary team balks at the newest process change, medical procedure, or piece of newfangled equipment. They may not just be lazy but reasonably assuming that something has withstood the test of time and works. That success is nothing to sneeze at.