Apes experience dips in happiness in their middle age, much like people do, suggesting a biological explanation for the midlife crisis.
Across many cultures, people report a dip in happiness during their late-40s, a time when they generally feel less satisfied with their lives than they do in their younger and older years.
Apes, too, experience a kind of midlife crisis, found a new study. The surprising result suggests that the middle-aged blues may be a result of biology, not culture, and its evolutionary roots run deep.
"It was an astounding thing for us to find this pattern, to be honest," said Andrew Oswald, an economist and behavioral scientist at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. "It may be that the midlife crisis is driven by primate biology in a way we don 't understand, and if that 's the case, we all have to learn how to deal with it."
"I think it 's helpful for people to understand this dip," he added. "With luck, this could people them see that this is completely normal and that could help them get through it."