Subliminal positive messages on ageing may improve physical functioning in older adults
[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″]Research from Yale University has found that exposure to positive age stereotypes can weaken negative age stereotypes and their effects over time leading to healthier outcomes. It’s believed to strengthen their positive self-perceptions which leads to improvements in their physical function.
Lead researcher, Becca Levy describes, “The challenge we had in this study was to enable the participants to overcome the negative age stereotypes which they acquire from society, as in everyday conversations and television comedies,”
For the study, researchers collected data from 100 older adults who live in the greater New Haven, Connecticut area. Some of the participants were subjected to positive age stereotypes on a computer screen that flashed words such as “spry” and “creative” at speeds that were too fast to allow for conscious awareness.
Amazingly, researchers found that individuals exposed to the positive messaging exhibited a range of psychological and physical improvements that were not found in control subjects. They benefited from improved physical function, such as balance, which continued for three weeks after the intervention ended.
Also, during the same period, positive age stereotypes and positive self-perceptions of ageing were strengthened, and negative age stereotypes and negative self-perceptions of ageing were weakened.
While it has been previously shown in other studies that negative age stereotypes can weaken an older individual’s physical functioning, this is the first time that subliminal activation of positive age stereotypes was found to improve outcomes over time.
The findings will be published in the Journal Psychological Science.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]