According to social neuroscientist Shelley Taylor of the University of California, Los Angeles, research backs up the idea that older people can put a positive spin on things — emotionally charged pictures, for example, and playing virtual games in which they risk the loss of money. “Older people are good at regulating their emotions, seeing things in a positive light, and not overreacting to everyday problems,” she says. But this trait may make them less wary. Both FTC and the Federal Bureau of Investigation agreed on their findings that older people are easy targets due in part to their tendency to put emphasis on the positive, which also supports Taylor’s findings.

But the theory has its flaws since the study is limited to faces. Whether the insula activates in response to non-facial cues, such as telephone scams (a particular problem for older people), remains unclear, says Taylor.

for you, what do think? is this true?