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Why old people are more happy

Older people are happier than younger adults because, simply, they avert their eyes from things that are likely to make them upset, research shows.

The finding explains research that has shown that older adults display more positive emotions and are quicker to regulate out of negative emotional states than younger adults.

Given the declines in cognitive functioning and physical health that tend to come with age, we might expect that age would be associated with worse moods, not better ones.

Derek Isaacowitz of Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, says older adults may be better at regulating emotion because they tend to direct their eyes away from negative material or toward positive material.

He has presented evidence which indicates that, compared to their younger peers, older adults prefer positive looking patterns.

Furthermore, they show the most positive looking when they are in bad moods, even though this is when younger adults show the most negative looking.

Research by Professor Isaacowitz and his colleagues indicates that there is actually a causal relationship between positive looking and mood.

This means that for adults with good attentional abilities, positive looking patterns can help to regulate their mood and stop them from slipping into a malaise.

Nevertheless, Although older adults prefer to focus on positive stimuli, the research shows that they aren't necessarily missing any salient or important information.

Professor Isaacowitz's findings are published in the August issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

URL: www.dailymail.co.uk

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