Happy people less likely to face memory decline: Study

Mumbai | Updated on October 31, 2020 Published on October 31, 2020

Representative image   -  istock

People who are jubilant and enthusiastic are less likely to have memory decline as they age, according to a study published in the journal Psychological Science.


For the study, the researchers examined data collected from 991 middle-aged and older United States (US) adults. They participated in a national study conducted at three time periods -- between 1995 and 1996, 2004 and 2006, and 2013 and 2014.

The participants were asked to journal the range of their positive emotions they had in the last 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 then analyzed the link between positive affect and memory decline, accounting for age, gender, education, depression, negative affect, and extraversion.


The authors wrote in their study that their findings suggested that memory declined with age.

Researchers wrote: "We may wish some memories could last a lifetime, but many physical and emotional factors can negatively impact our ability to retain information throughout life."

Lead author Emily Hittner, a PhD graduate of Northwestern University, said in an official statement, "However, individuals with higher levels of positive affect had a less steep memory decline over the course of almost a decade."

The researchers predict that the areas of future research might address the pathways that could connect positive affect and memory, including physical health or social relationships.

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Published on October 31, 2020
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