According to IMDB, Do We Get More Conservative as We Age or Just Smarter

We are in the midst of a hotly contested election season in which the pundits attempt to place groups of people in defined boxes. Two of the boxes are the liberal youth vote and the conservative Senior Citizen vote. Some pundits argue that as Senior Citizens die off the country will become more liberal. Others argue that young people will become conservative as they age, maintaining the status quo. Do we become more conservative as we age? There are studies on both sides of the issue as evidenced in this 2012 article and this 2014 article.

I won’t attempt to resolve this issue here but, instead, use it as a backdrop for another interesting finding in my demographic study of IMDB’s Top 250 Movies. Age does appear to factor in IMDB voting. Take a look at these results by Age Group:

Avg. IMDB Rating
Age Group All Male Female
Under 18             8.7             8.8                       8.6
18 to 29             8.5             8.5                       8.4
30 to 45             8.3             8.4                       8.3
Over 45             8.2             8.2                       8.0

As IMDB voters get older, the average rating for the same group of movies is lower. It doesn’t matter whether the groups are male or female. The pattern is still the same. The fact that the avg. ratings for the female groups is consistently lower than the male groups is probably due to the bias towards male-oriented movies in the Top 250. Is this further evidence that we get more conservative as we get older?

I’ll offer up a counter-argument, maybe we get smarter as we get older. There are scientific studies that support this including those cited in this 2011 article. There is some IMDB support for this argument, as well. One of the demographic groups that IMDB captures data for is the Top 1,000 IMDB voters. These are voters who have rated the most movies on IMDB and presumably have watched the most movies. The avg. IMDB rating from this group for the Top 250 Movies is 7.9. Perhaps, the more movies that you watch, the smarter you get at differentiating one movie from another. If so, then maybe the lower average ratings for the older age groups are more representative of the experience gained from watching a greater number of movies. Whether we get more conservative or smarter as we age, it would be wise for the older moviegoer to recognize that the avg. IMDB rating is heavily influenced by males aged 18 to 29. You’ll need to apply a Senior Discount to the rating. What do you think?


Author: Mad Movie Man

I love good movies. In my prior life I worked with predictive models. I've combined my love of movies with my prior experience to create a simple Bayesian probability model to help select movies that you will probably "really like".

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