Positive people less likely to develop memory problems
Positive people are less likely to develop memory problems in later life, a new study has found.
Researchers from Northwestern University in the U.S. discovered that those with a more cheerful disposition are less likely to experience memory decline in old age.
Age-related memory loss, such as occasional forgetfulness, is common in the elderly, however more serious conditions could develop, such as dementia.
The team analysed data from more than 900 middle-aged and older adults from across the U.S. who have been answering questions from health experts since 1995.
In each of the assessments, participants were asked to report on a range of positive emotions they had experienced during the past month, and also completed memory performance tests, which required them to recall words immediately after seeing them, and then again 15 minutes later.
They examined the link between cheerfulness and memory decline, and discovered that those who feel enthusiastic will benefit from what psychologists called a “positive affect”.
Senior author Claudia Haase acknowledged that while memory declined with age, being positive helped protect our brains for a longer period of time.
“Individuals with higher levels of positive affect had a less steep memory decline over the course of almost a decade,” study lead author Emily Hittner added.
The study was published in the journal Psychological Science.