No matter how old people are, they seem to believe that who they are today is essentially who they’ll be tomorrow. That’s according to fresh research that suggests that people generally fail to appreciate how much their personality and values will change in the years ahead — even though they recognize that they have changed in the past. Daniel Gilbert, a psychology researcher at Harvard University who did this study with two colleagues, says that he’s no exception to this rule. “I have this deep sense that although I will physically age — I’ll have even less hair than I do and probably a few more pounds — that by and large the core of me, my identity, my values, my personality, my deepest preferences, are not going to change from here on out,” says Gilbert, who is 55. He realized that this feeling was kind of odd, given that he knows he’s changed in the past. He wondered if this feeling was an illusion, and if it was one that other people shared: “Is it really the case that we all think that development is a process that’s brought us to this particular moment in time, but now we’re pretty much done?” Gilbert says that he and his colleagues wanted to investigate this idea, but first they had to figure out how. The most straightforward way would be to ask people to predict how much they’d change in the next decade, then wait around to see if they were right. “The problem with that is, it takes 10 years,” says Gilbert. So the researchers took a much quicker approach. They got more than 19,000 people to take some surveys. There were questions about their personality traits, their core values and preferences. Some people were asked to look back on how they changed over the past 10 years. Others were asked to predict how they thought they would change in the next decade. Then the scientists crunched the data. “We’re able to determine whether, for example, 40-year-olds looking backwards remember changing more than 30-year-olds looking forwards predict that they will change,” Gilbert explains. They found that people underestimated how much they will change in the future. People just didn’t recognize how much their seemingly essential selves would shift and grow. And this was true whether they were in their teen years or middle-aged.
Posts Tagged ‘Aging’
Tags: Aging, Anti-aging, antiaging, infographic, Life Extension
Emerging research suggests a wandering mind may not be a sign of unhappiness, rather a sign of cellular aging. Scientists from the University of California – San Francisco assessed the length of telomeres, the part of a chromosome that prevents the chromosome from aging. Telomeres are an emerging biomarker for cellular and general bodily aging. In the study, telomere length was assessed in association with the tendency to be present in the moment versus the tendency to mind wander, on 239 healthy, midlife women ranging in age from 50 to 65 years. Researchers defined being present in the moment as an inclination to be focused on current tasks, while mind wandering was described as the inclination to have thoughts about things other than the present or being elsewhere. Investigators discovered those who reported more mind-wandering had shorter telomeres, while those who reported more presence in the moment, or having a greater focus and engagement with their current activities, had longer telomeres, even after adjusting for current stress. Telomeres typically shorten with age and in response to psychological and physiological stressors. In research pioneered at UCSF, scientists have discovered that telomere shortness predicts early disease and mortality.
Scientists at Arizona State University have discovered that older honey bees effectively reverse brain aging when they take on nest responsibilities typically handled by much younger bees. While current research on human age-related dementia focuses on potential new drug treatments, researchers say these findings suggest that social interventions may be used to slow or treat age-related dementia. (via Scientists discover bees can ‘turn back time,’ reverse brain aging)
Professor Tom Kirkwood has demolished a string of misconceptions about the ageing process with a groundbreaking study into the health of more than 1,000 older people in the 85-plus generation. “It’s a myth that they are bowls of misery, unhappy with their lot, and always going on about ailments,” he insists. “Four out of five of them actually think they are doing pretty well.” His study, the largest of its kind ever undertaken, has proved revealing on several fronts. For a start, people in the 85-plus range are generally much happier, and more independent, than is generally realised. Remarkably, 80% of a group carefully selected by the Kirkwood team – a fair sample of the UK population of this age – need little care. Around the same number rate their quality of life either good or excellent. On the downside, 20% need either regular daily help or critical 24-hour care. All of which might be almost manageable for the state, and for society, if this age range was static. But, as the amiable Kirkwood never tires of reminding questioners, the 85-plus group is now the fastest-growing segment of the population.
TEDxUChicago 2012 – Aubrey de Grey – Age Theory (by TEDxTalks). Dr De Grey is a pioneer in the field of anti-aging.
“Aubrey David Nicholas Jasper de Grey (born 20 April 1963) is an English author and theoretician in the field of gerontology, and the Chief Science Officer of the SENS Foundation. He is editor-in-chief of the academic journal Rejuvenation Research, author of The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging (1999) and co-author of Ending Aging (2007). He is perhaps best known for his view that human beings could, in theory, live to lifespans far in excess of that which any authenticated cases have lived to today.” – Wikipedia