Lens: Type: Characteristic

How long a person has lived.

Photo: magniandtude
portrait of an older man

A person or people group’s age does not define them; however, age has personal and external implications. A person’s age can determine if they can drink alcohol or vote. A child who is 12 years old or younger can order off of the children’s menu. An 80-year old likely has more health problems than a person who is 32.

Age isn’t a sure-fire way to determine physical fitness, nor does it accurately represent a person’s maturity level. Sweeping generalizations should not be based on age. However, combining a person’s age with other aspects can create a clearer picture of a person’s identity and how they relate to the world around them.

Age Examples

  • A girl who is 13-years-old.

Researching Age

Surveys, interviews, and other straightforward methods can be used to learn a person’s age. Special care should be taken when asking questions about age. Some people can feel uncomfortable sharing their age with others. Researching age can reveal the role age plays in different cultures.

Questions to Ask About Age

  • What is the person’s age?
  • What is their stage of life?
  • What are common concerns when someone is in this stage of life?
  • What age was this person when they started (doing something)?

Look for These When Researching Age

  • Activities a person does that are age-specific.


References and sources that support the inclusion of this Aspects of Experiences for Design component.

Social Sciences

Fiske, S. T., & Taylor, S. E. (2017). Social cognition: from brains to culture. (3rd ed.). London: SAGE.

Montepare, J. M., & Zebrowitz, L. A. (1998). Person Perception Comes of Age: The Salience and Significance of Age in Social Judgments Advances in Experimental Social Psychology. In M. P. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology: Volume 30 (pp. 93-161). Academic Press. doi:10.1016/S0065-2601(08)60383-4

North, M. S., & Fiske, S. T. (2012). An Inconvenienced Youth? Ageism and Its Potential Intergenerational Roots. Psychological Bulletin, 138(5), 982-997.

Wittmann, M., & Lehnhoff, S. (2005). Age Effects in Perception of Time. Psychological Reports, 97(3), 921-935. doi:10.2466/pr0.97.3.921-935