A new study finds that people who feel enthusiastic and cheerful -- what psychologists call 'positive affect' -- are less likely to experience memory decline as they age. This result adds to a growing body of research on positive affect's role in healthy aging.
"Our findings showed that memory declined with age," said Claudia Haase, an associate professor at Northwestern University and senior author on the paper. "However, individuals with higher levels of positive affect had a less steep memory decline over the course of almost a decade," added Emily Hittner, a PhD graduate of Northwestern University and the paper's lead author.
Areas of future research might address the pathways that could connect positive affect and memory, such as physical health or social relationships.