When do you cease to be 'cool'? It's at this pivotal age, a new study suggests

If you find yourself a bit more out of touch, or stuck in your old ways — age could play a role in how "up to date" you feel on things like trends and technology.
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Posted at 2:37 PM, May 10, 2024

You may care, or you may not — but researchers say that a new survey study has determined the age at which people seem to become "out of touch" with things like current trends, new technology and what is generally considered "cool." This could happen if you find that Taylor Swift's music just isn't for you, or you don't care to try and fool with the social media platform TikTok, perhaps.

Talker Research released the results of an intriguing random double-opt-in survey after polling 2,000 Americans between April 3 and April 8 this year to find out at what age respondents seemed to indicate they had started to feel "uncool." That age landed at 39, the researchers said.

The group said poll questions were meant to look at how confident Americans feel when it comes to popular culture and the latest trends. They found that 40% of people polled indicated they felt "out of touch overall."

The researchers described 39 years old as this "inevitable" age that people reach in which they start to feel more disconnected with what is currently "cool," or when respondents "generally expect to feel out of touch."

People were asked about topics related to culture, the arts, technology and the latest slang terms being used. The data found that Americans seem most confident on the topic of food, with 72% responding with answers about food questions that appeared confident. That confidence level lowered to about 60% on the topic of music —celebrities was a separate category at a low 35% — and 58% when talking about social media. Movie confidence was at 55% for Americans polled in the survey, and at 49% for knowledge about the latest tech being used.

When it came to current slang, a relatively low proportion of confidence was displayed in this area with a 40% score when it came to questions about what the coolest current slang terms are.

People surveyed appeared to care less about what people thought of them in the style trends department, and when it came to literature and the arts, they like what they like by 39, it seems. Confidence about the latest in the art world was at 34%, and for literature it was 32% — and fashion fell to that 32% mark as well.

The researchers described those five lowest percentages among the topics as areas that people 39 and older appear to "struggle to keep in touch with."

If you're worried about being out of touch, take heart: according to respondents, 67% of people polled in the survey felt that for those who are out of touch, they can still learn how to understand new culture trends and technology. On the other hand, 17% of people polled in the survey felt that trends and tastes are "inherent" and aren't really something that can just be taught to older generations.

Editor's note: Talker Research is a marketing research company that was formerly known as OnePoll U.S. — The company says it has team members that are part of the Market Research Society and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research