Age Is Just a Number

Langer_Ellen_smallPeople tend to proceed through life trying to act their age. But the pioneering research of Ellen Langer suggests that adopting the attitude of a younger person may actually have health benefits. In a classic 1981 study, she had old men live in a retreat that was retrofitted to look like 1959, while they pretended that they were living in that year. She and her colleagues found that the men experienced improvements in vision, strength, and other abilities, and that they actually looked younger as well. Langer’s mind-body research indicates that just as social cues can make us feel old, other social cues can make us feel and act young.