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Older people have more positive outlook

23rd March 2007

A study has shown that older people have a more positive outlook when it comes to processing information.

Research conducted by the University of Colorado found that, of the 150 participants, it was those aged over 55 who were better able to balance negative information with positive.

The test involved showing pictures to the participants which fell into three categories. Positive pictures were of ice cream and sunsets, neutral ones featured a chair and a fork. Negative pictures were of a car crash and dead cat.

Participants' reactions were monitored as they viewed the pictures.

Michael Kisley, who conducted the research, explained the findings: "Whereas younger adults often pay more attention to emotionally negative information, older adults tens to assign equal importance to emotionally positive information.

"Older adults, aged 55 plus, didn't show this so-called 'negative bias'. Instead they tended to show a better balance between paying attention to both negative and positive images."

Mr Kisley hopes to continue research into why this change in attitude occurs: "Whether the observed change is automatic, unconscious or whether it results from conscious effort on the part of the older adult to switch their world view."