So getting old stinks? Does it really? Hair turning grey, job qualifications diminishing, and wrinkles all over with numerous diseases! And that is the reason researchers have been working on increasing the life span of the old aged. However, an associate professor of psychology named Derek Isaacowitz in College of Science of the Northeastern University might have an opinion contrary to the general way of regarding the old aged population. He says that old people are happier as compared to their younger counterparts. And he also engages himself in finding the reason behind it. To conduct his observations, he employs a ‘state-of-the-art’ testing method (the one which is not typically used in old ageing research) called eye-tracking. Isaacowitz says, “Eye-tracking follows a participant’s eye movements by taking 60 snapshots of his or her pupils each second”. The procedure reports the moods of old people by tracking what exactly they are looking at.
Results reveal that younger and older participants react with emotions in different ways. One way is to change the way you are thinking of by looking at something. Many younger participants tend to get upset and say ‘no’ to many images in this experiment.
On the contrary, old people tend to distract themselves from negativities and hence, tend to have a positive outlook. Isaacowitz says that this works as they have fewer resources to distract themselves as compared to the young. Though this cognitive difference was already confirmed, there still remain many questions about day to day emotions being regulated by many factors especially the age.
Isaacowitz says that he was eager to join the Affective Science Institute and help in enhancing the university’s strength in ageing research. He wishes to conduct many more studies which will also include setting up an experiment in a natural environment.