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Memory Test Makes Elderly Adults Feel Older

Update Date: Oct 17, 2013 01:51 AM EDT

Many older adults can attest that they feel younger than they really are. 

In a recent study older adults simultaneously "aged" within a few minutes of taking a memory test. 

"This research shows that simply putting an older adult in a memory testing context affects how they feel about themselves," said senior researcher Lisa Geraci of Texas A&M University.

Researchers gathered 22 adults whose age ranged from 65 to 85. The adults were to say how old they initially felt from the number 0 to 120. According to the study the subjects reported feeling on average 58.59 years old which was significantly younger than their average age of 75.05.

Researchers found that the older adults felt on average 63.14 years old after taking the memory test. That's about 5 years older than their original age. 

"Simply reading the instructions for the memory test was enough to induce a subjective aging effect among older participants," said the Association For Psychological Science

Researchers pointed out that the subjects did not show problems in memory adherence instead they felt an inability to feel younger than they thought they felt before the test.

"These new results are exciting because they suggest that subjective age is malleable, and that we may be able to change subjective age and influence older adults' cognition and behavior."

The findings are published in the journal Psychological Science

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