The clash between boomers and millennials has been in the news a lot lately. But complaints about “kids these days” have been going on since ancient times, everywhere in the world.

But why? “It seems like there is a memory problem,” says John Protzko, a University of California Santa Barbara psychologist. “A memory tic that just keeps happening, generation after generation.”

Recently he and a colleagues published a paper in Science Advances attempting to figure out why a “kids these days” bias persists throughout the ages. Their new work contains an important lesson about how human memory works (and doesn’t), and what our negative evaluations of others reveal about ourselves.

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