New Research Reveals: Positive Outlook Results in Less Memory Decline

Most people have lovely memories they wish could last a lifetime, however there are many emotional and physical…
New Research Reveals: Positive Outlook Results in Less Memory Decline

Most people have lovely memories they wish could last a lifetime, however there are many emotional and physical factors that can impact our memory throughout life negatively.

According to a new study published in the Psychological Science journal, it was revealed that there’s less chance for people who feel cheerful and enthusiastic to experience memory decline as they grow older. This result adds to a growing body of research on positive affect’s role in healthy aging.

Data was analyzed by some researchers from 991 middle-aged and older U.S. adults who were involved in a national study conducted at three time periods: 1995 – 1996, 2004 – 2006, and 2013 – 2014.

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In each assessment, participants reported on a range of positive emotions they had experienced during the past 30 days. In the final two assessments, participants also completed tests of memory performance. These tests consisted of recalling words immediately after their presentation and again 15 minutes later.

The researchers examined the association between positive affect and memory decline, accounting for age, gender, education, depression, negative affect, and extraversion.

Associate professor at Northwestern University and senior author on the paper, Claudia Haase said that:

Our findings showed that memory declined with age.

Claudia Haase

Lead author of the paper, and PhD graduate from Northwestern University, Emily Hittner added that:

However, individuals with higher levels of positive affect had a less steep memory decline over the course of almost a decade

Emily Hittner

Areas of future research might address the pathways that could connect positive affect and memory, such as physical health or social relationships.

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