In a general sense, life looks the same for all of us: stuff happens to us. We learn from that stuff, sometimes. We get older. Ideally, we have a sense that there’s some progression to our lives. Learning from our past experiences helps us live our lives more effectively as we get older, and eventually…

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It seems self-evident that having rewarding social connections should be able to help with healthy aging, but framing that intuition in a scientific way turns out to be surprisingly complicated. There are a couple reasons why that’s the case. The first is that loneliness influences and is influenced by other aspects of our behavior in…

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Here’s a loaded question for you: how do you feel about being a narcissist? Like the classic example of “when did you stop beating your wife?”, this is a question without a good answer. And it’s more or less what researchers asked young adults in a study designed to test people’s perceptions of different generations’…

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That’s right! When you woke up yesterday I bet you didn’t know your cognitive future hinged on whether you’d have a good day! I’m exaggerating, of course. But there really is a new study out showing that people’s evaluations of their previous days can predict cognitive aging over the next year. Before you freak out…

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The cross-sensory associations of synesthesia are still something of a mystery. We know that some people link letters with colors, or sounds with tactile sensations, but the broader implications of having synesthesia are less clear. Synesthesia has been found to correlate with certain psychological and neurological traits that it doesn’t otherwise have an obvious connection…

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Exercise might prolong your lifespan and cut your risk of dementia later in life, but focusing on these long-term benefits isn’t necessarily enough to motivate a regular exercise routine. In fact, recent research suggests that being more physically active goes hand-in-hand with emphasizing exercise’s short-term benefits. In a series of four experiments, researchers studied people’s…

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If you expect that the future holds good things, you might be right. It’s a common idea that optimism can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and psychology research has tended to back up a link between positive expectations and positive outcomes. The latest example comes from a study by researchers at Harvard, looking at the role…

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For better or worse, pedaling around on a two-wheeled vehicle seems to effect people’s cognition, as I’ve written about before. Being bicyclists apparently makes people better drivers but also gives them a little paranoia, at least temporarily. Here’s another change you can chalk up in the “for better” column, though: improved cognitive function later in…

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Being able to make an accurate guess at what the people around us are feeling is a skill that helps us get along with friends, family, partners and coworkers. Like other cognitive skills, it appears to be one that changes with age. To some degree, the ability to read other people’s emotions depends on experience.…

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Mental health isn’t something that stays fixed across the lifespan. Everyone goes through periods of better and worse mental health. But as people get older, is there a general tendency for their mental health to improve? According to a new study from researchers in Germany, that might change from one country to the next. The…

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