A new study has shown that people who are cheerful and feel enthusiastic or what is known as the “positive effect”, are less likely to experience decline in memory with aging. This study adds to a growing body of research that shows the role a positive outlook has on aging.
Many of wish some of our memories could last a lifetime. However, emotional and physical factors can negatively impact our ability to retain information throughout our life.
The research team analyzed data from 991 older and middle aged adults in the United States who had participated in a national study conducted at three different time periods – 1995 and 1996, 2004 and 2006, and 2013 and 2014.
With each assessment, participants reported on a range of positive emotions they experienced during the previous 30 days. In the last two assessments, they also completed tests of memory performance. These tests involved participants recalling words immediately following their presentation and again 15 minutes later.
The team then examined the association between positive effect and memory decline. They accounted for gender, age, education, negative effect, depression and extroversion.
The findings indicated that memory did decline with age. However, participants with higher levels of positive effect had a less steep memory decline over the period of almost a decade.
Future research will look at addressing the pathways that could connect memory and positive effect such as social relationships and physical health.
To view the original scientific study click below