When given a choice, older people prefer to read negative news, rather than positive news, about young adults, a new study suggests.
In fact, older readers who chose to read negative stories about young individuals actually get a small boost in their self-esteem, according to the results.
Results showed that younger people showed no differences in self-esteem based on what they had read. However, the more that older people read negative stories about younger individuals, the higher the older people’s levels of self-esteem tended to be.
This study came about because a previous study by the same researchers, using this same data, had produced unexpected results, Knobloch-Westerwick said. The original study had hypothesized that people prefer media messages that portray people like themselves – people of the same age and the same gender, in this case.
Overall, the original study found that was indeed true. However, the researchers were puzzled by the fact that older people in that first study seemed as equally interested in stories about younger people as they were in stories about older people like themselves.
“Now we know why older people liked reading about the younger people – they were looking for negative stories about them,” she said.
Across the board, it really pays to keep living like you’re young. Just your attitude toward aging can affect how you age. Even better is to literally think and behave like your younger self. Having a mid-life crisis is avoidable and you can keep an aging brain sharp.