Study: Older Adults, Compared To Younger Adults, Prefer To View World Through Positive Filter

Published: Friday, August 16, 2019 - 10:30am

A new study from the University of Southern California examined how older adults see the world compared to their younger counterparts. Turns out, older adults actually prefer to view their world through a positive filter.

Briana Kennedy is with the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and one of the study’s researchers. Kennedy said they looked at “emotion-induced blindness,” which measures how distracted people are when the see something emotional like a cute baby or, conversely, a man approaching a woman with a knife.

"And what we found older adults were biased toward positive information, but tended to filter out the negative and on the other hand, the younger adults were distracted by positive and negative information," Kennedy said.

One theory as to why, Kennedy said, is that older adults know they have limited time left in life, so they focus on the positive instead and ignore the negative because they don’t need to learn from those experiences.

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