Because the evidence in study 1 was correlational, and the effect relatively small, in study 2 we ran a complementary experiment to show that the experience of approaching a new epoch prompts a search for meaning. Three hundred thirty-seven Mechanical Turk users 12 were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: to write about what they would do tomorrow baseline control , to write about how they would feel the night before their next birthday birthday control , or to write about how they would feel the night before they entered a new decade experimental; e.
Most of the items were adapted from the so-called Meaning in Life Questionnaire 13 , whereas others were prepared for the present study.
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Studies 1 and 2 show that 9-enders and people who imagine they are entering a new decade are more likely to search for meaning in life. In studies 3—6 we examined the correlates of this search for meaning by investigating whether 9-enders were more likely to engage in adapative and maladaptive behaviors that suggest a quest for meaning. In study 3 we calculated the frequency of male 9-enders aged between 25 and 64 years relative to other males registered on a dating website that caters to people who are seeking extramarital affairs.
There were , 9-enders registered on the site, In contrast, there were between , users 2-enders: an underrepresentation of Extending these results to a second measure, in study 4 we examined the number of suicides per , individuals between 25 and 64 years of age across the United States from to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC classifies the United States into four regions—Midwest, Northeast, South, and West—so we treated the suicide rate of individuals at each year of age within each region during each calendar year as a separate data point e.
We conducted an analysis of covariance to compare the suicide rate of 9-enders to the suicide rate of nonenders and included variables in the model to control for the effects of region, age, and total deaths at that age. Because the data did not include gender, we were unable to examine whether gender interacted with the 9-ending independent variable.
Indeed, the suicide rate was higher among 9-enders than among people whose ages ended in any other digit Having shown that 9-enders were more likely to engage in two behaviors that suggested a crisis of meaning, we next considered whether 9-enders also tend to engage in productive meaning-seeking behaviors. In study 5 we collected data from Athlinks, a website that compiles running race times. This study addressed one potential concern with study 3: that daters might be tempted to claim they are younger than they actually are, thereby inflating the number of 9-enders on the site.
Although see a supplemental analysis in Materials and Methods that suggests this is unlikely. To minimize this concern, we explored participation rates in a domain where reporting a 9-ending age has distinct disadvantages: athletic events. Nine-enders are the oldest members of athletic age brackets, which divide runners into 5-year brackets e. Consequently, 9-ending runners are incentivized to round their age upward so that it ends in a 0, placing them in a competitive set that includes older and therefore slower runners.
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This analysis therefore represented a conservative test of our hypothesis. We examined whether nonelite runners completed faster marathons when they were aged 29 and 39, rather than during the 2 years before or after those ages. Controlling for age, faster marathon times tend to suggest that runners have trained harder or are more motivated, so we expected runners to complete faster marathons when they were 29 relative to their mean fastest times at ages 27, 28, 30, and 31 or at age 39 relative to their mean fastest times at ages 37, 38, 40, and We analyzed the marathon times of runners who had completed marathons at age 29 or 39 and at least one marathon during the 2 years before and one during the 2 years after that age.
As expected, runners in our sample ran a mean of 2. Because the sample in study 5 was restricted, we conducted a complementary analysis in study 6 to examine whether 9-enders tend to be overrepresented among first-time marathon runners. We examined the ages of first-time marathon runners randomly drawn from the Athlinks website, aged between 25 and 64 years, who were completing one of five marathons in the United States. These results contribute to a growing literature suggesting that, although people age continually, the passage of time is more likely to influence their thoughts and actions at some ages than others.
Here, we find that people are significantly more likely to consider whether their lives are meaningful as they approach the start of a new decade. Across six studies see Table 1 for a summary we showed that 9-enders are particularly preoccupied with aging and meaningfulness studies 1 and 2 , which is linked to a rise in behaviors that suggest a search for or crisis of meaning studies 3—6. Although some of these effects were small, they occur in domains with consequential life outcomes. We examined data from 42, adults who completed the World Values Survey, a large-scale survey administered to participants from more than countries between and We included all respondents aged between 25 and 64 years of age, specifically excluding college-aged respondents, who are generally prone to seeking meaning based on the nature of adolescence and their tendency to be joining the workforce or entering the final years of formal education, and potential retirees.
S1 depicts the mean scores on the meaning measure for participants at each age in the sample.
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Data from the World Values Survey are in the public domain, and all respondents are anonymous. After completing a consent form, participants reported their birthdate and sex and were told that they would be completing two brief studies. Mechanical Turk respondents regularly provide demographic details, including their ages, so we were not concerned that asking their birthdates might signal that the study was principally concerned with age effects.
Please spend a few minutes writing about your thoughts and feelings about the day. Try to imagine, as vividly as possible, what your day will be like. There are no right or wrong answers—just write whatever comes into your head. Those in the birthday experimental condition were given the same instructions but asked to imagine that the target date was the day before they entered a new decade e. We obtained data from an online dating site that targets people who are already in relationships.
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We restricted the sample to those aged 25—64 years S2 depicts the number of users at each age between 25 and 64 years. Unfortunately, the dating site does not verify the age of its users, so we were concerned that some users may have falsified their ages. Accordingly, we conducted a brief study to examine whether people systematically choose 9-ending ages when lying about their age.
We asked a sample of Mechanical Turk users to imagine they were trying to fool a potential dating match into believing they were as young as possible while avoiding obviously fabricated responses because they might later meet that person. There was no evidence that people preferred 9-ending ages. We analyzed the responses from users who claimed ages between 25 and 64 years of age, which allowed us to compare the distribution of the online dating site data to the distribution of these deliberately fabricated ages.
We found that 9-ending ages were less common than all but 1-ending ages. The most frequent responses were, in descending order, 5-ending ages At least according to this analysis, people are not systematically drawn to 9-ending ages when providing fabricated responses. Rather, we found that the vast majority of people Of course, these data are not definitive, but they do suggest that people are not naturally drawn to 9-ending ages when trying to appear as young as possible within the bounds of plausibility. We obtained a dataset from the CDC containing the age of every suicide victim across the United States between and We restricted the sample to adults aged 25 and 64 years of age.
The dataset included suicide rates per , individuals for each year and region of the United States broken down by the CDC into Midwest, Northeast, Southwest, and West.
We calculated a separate suicide rate score for each age during each year and from each region between and and then averaged those scores to form a single index for each age-ending digit e. S3 represents the frequency of suicides at each age between 25 and We collected data from the Athlinks website, which scrapes the internet to collect athletic race times across a variety of events. Specifically, we randomly recorded the marathon completion times of the first athletes listed on the site who ran a marathon at age 29 or 39 and at least one marathon at the two ages below that age 27 or 28 years for the year-olds; 37 or 38 years for the year-olds and at least one marathon at the two ages above that age 30 or 31 years for the year-olds; 40 or 41 years for the year-olds.
Having collected these data, we calculated an index that represented how much faster or slower each athlete ran the marathon at the 9-ending age relative to the other ages. Look Up Their Report In Public Records If you want the most definitive answer you can get without actually tracking down their birth certificate, pull their background check report online. Ask Friends When all else fails, you could always simply interrogate their friends. Instant Checkmate does not provide consumer reports and is not a consumer reporting agency.
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If your birthday was close to Christmas or another holiday, you got twice the presents! Depending on just how close they are to each other, the two events will get rolled into one. Worse, with all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, these birthdays can sometimes be forgotten entirely. But there are a couple of easy ways to make sure any friends or family members with December birthdays get their proper due.
It can be embarrassing to have to ask when their birthday is. Thankfully, you can find it quickly and easily through an online people search. The high-powered service database at PeopleFinders , for example, is able to search through its massive database in a flash, bringing you the info you need instantly.