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People Who Are More Positive May Experience Less Memory Decline

Positive affect refers to a person’s predisposition to experience positive emotions and interact with others and with life's challenges in a positive way. People with high positive affectivity are typically enthusiastic, energetic, confident, active, and alert. A recent study has found an association between positive affect and a decreased risk of memory decline.

Participants in the study included 991 adults who were assessed 3 times during a 19-year period. During all 3 assessments, participants reported on a range of positive emotions they had experienced in the past 30 days. During the 2ndand 3rdassessments, they also completed tests that evaluated memory performance.

The researchers found that participants with the highest levels of positive affect had less memory decline compared to participants with the lowest levels. These findings held after accounting for age, gender, education, depression, negative affect, and extraversion.

The study was conducted by researchers from Northwestern University. It was published online ahead of print on October 22, 2020 in the journal Psychological Science.

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