Emotional Intelligence Peaks in our 60s
“Society often views older adults as wiser, more refined and sometimes a little bit crankier, but more emotionally intelligent? It’s true, says a team of researchers led by University of California, Berkeley psychologist Robert Levenson.
In the first study, the team at the looked at 144 healthy adults in their 20s, 40s and 60s to see how they reacted to neutral, sad and disgusting film clips. They examined how the participants used techniques known as “detached appraisal,” “positive reappraisal” and “behavior suppression.” This particular study, headed up by Michelle Shiota, now an assistant professor of psychology at Arizona State University, monitored blood pressure, heart rates, perspiration and breathing patterns of participants as they watched dramatic scenes from movies such as “21 Grams” and TV shows like “Fear Factor.”
Older people were the most adept at reinterpreting negative scenes in positive ways using positive reappraisal, a coping mechanism that draws on life experience and lessons learned. The study’s younger participants were better at using “detached appraisal,” which allowed them to tune out unpleasant scenes. […]”