Old Doesn't Mean Crotchety, Whippersnapper

Study finds 'negative bias' erodes with age
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Sep 2, 2007 5:47 AM CDT
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(Newser) – Aging might cause the memory to, er, lapse, but it also can create a more positive outlook, reports Science. We tend to have a "negative bias"—an inclination to pay more attention to bad news than good—which is reversed as we age. Young people's brain activity jumps when faced with negative images, but older brains don't change much—whether they're looking at car crashes or puppies.

Seniors generally report a higher sense of well-being than their juniors, so a "grumpy old man" was probably a grumpier younger man, the study indicates. But the reasons behind this spike in optimism over time are unclear. One psychologist chalks it up to our "desire to surround ourselves with the pleasant" as we near the end of our lives.