Tag Archives: longevity

Increase Self-Control with Purpose in Life, Positive Outlook, Humility

Anthony Burrow

Anthony Burrow

People with a sense of purpose are more likely to make choices with long-term benefits like saving for retirement and children’s education.
In addition, they are less likely to be diverted by short-term gratification and impulsive actions like such as cigarette smoking, drug use, gambling, and driving under the influence, found Cornell’s Anthony L. Burrow and R. Nathan Spreng in work with more than 500 adults.
As a result, Purpose in Life was related to reduced impulsivity and increased self-control.

Nathan Spreng

Nathan Spreng

Volunteers completed a personality inventory and a self-rating of Purpose in Life before making choices about whether to take a smaller amount of money immediately or a larger amount at some later date.

Waiting times and amount of the payoffs differed during each trial.
Participants who said they had a clear life purpose made longer-term, higher-payoff choices, suggesting greater ability to curb the impulse for an immediate reward, and greater self-management capacity.

Chai Jing

Chai Jing

Another factor in reducing one type of impulsive behavior – dangerous driving – is a “positivity bias,” hallmarked by seeing positive events as more salient than negative incidents, reported University of Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Chai Jing , Weina Qu, Xianghong Sun, Kan Zhang, and Yan Ge.

Weina Qu

Weina Qu

They studied more than 40 non-professional drivers using electroencephalograph data, self-reports of driving, violation reports, and International Affective Picture System (IAPS)  scores to measure negativity biases.

Volunteers identified whether a series of 80 pictures had blue borders or red borders around images that implicitly evoke negative, positive, or neutral emotions.
Dangerous drivers took longer to respond on the border-color task when the image was negative, suggesting greater attention to negative input.

Patrick Hill

Patrick Hill

Sense of purpose is also linked to greater longevity in a study by Carleton University’s Patrick Hill and Nicholas Turiano of the University of Rochester, in their study of more than 6100 Americans followed over 14 years.

Rachel Sumner

Rachel Sumner

Purpose in Life can increase White adult’s comfort with diverse groups, and may be associated with reduced prejudice, noted Cornell’s Burrow and Rachel Sumner, Maclen Stanley of Harvard, and Carlton University’s Patrick L. Hill in their study of more than 500 Americans.

Maclen Stanley

Maclen Stanley

Participants who received an experimental prime of life purpose also reported less preference for living in an ethnically homogeneous White city.
These effects persisted were independent of volunteers’ positive affect and perceived connections to ethnic out-groups.

Eddie M.W. Tong

Eddie M.W. Tong

Humility is another characteristic associated with reduced impulsivity and greater self-control in research by National University of Singapore’s Eddie M.W. Tong, Kenny W.T. Tan, Agapera A.B. Chor, Emmeline P.S. Koh, Jehanne S.Y. Lee, and Regina W.Y. Tan.

Defined as the ability to tolerate failures without self-deprecation, and to view successes without developing a sense of superiority, humility primes were associated with improved performance in a physical stamina (handgrip), resisting chocolate, and an insoluble tracing task.

Kenny W.T. Tan

Kenny W.T. Tan

Humility’s effect on self-regulation was significantly different from self-esteem, which had no impact on self-control.
Likewise, achievement motivation and compliance motivation did not explain increased performance.

Taken together, these findings suggest that effectively managing oneself in the face of challenging and tempting circumstances is enhanced by having a clear purpose in life, cultivating a positive bias and humility.

-*To what extent does having a sense of purpose make it easier to maintain self-control in challenging situations?

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Peer-Rated Personality Traits Predict Longevity

Joshua Jackson

Joshua Jackson

Self-rated personality traits and ratings by others effectively predicted mortality risk, according to Washington University’s Joshua J. Jackson, working with James J. Connolly and Madeleine M. Leveille of Connolly Consulting to collaborate with Vanderbilt University’s S. Mason Garrison and Touro University Seamus L. Connolly.
In fact, and friends’ ratings were even better predictors of longevity than were self-reports of personality,

E. Lowell Kelly

E. Lowell Kelly

The team used 75 years of data beginning in 1935 from Kelly/Connolly Longitudinal Study on Personality and Aging (KCLS), along with mortality information across 75 years, developed by University of Michigan’s E. Lowell Kelly and James J. Conley.

Robert McCrae

Robert McCrae

Both study participants and their close friends rated volunteers’ personality traits, “Big Five” traits—conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, neuroticism and openness—described by NIH’s Robert McCrae and Paul Costa.

James Connolly

James Connolly

Male participants seen by their friends as more conscientious and open lived longer, whereas friend-rated emotional stability and agreeableness predicted longevity for women.
Men’s self-ratings of personality traits were somewhat accurate predictors of lifespan, but not women’s self-reports.

Mason Garrison

Mason Garrison

Jackson’s group noted that friends’ ratings were more reliable predictors because multiple evaluations were aggregated rather than relying on a single self-rating.
In addition, “…friends may see something that you miss; they may have some insight that you do not….people may be biased or miss certain aspects of themselves and we are not able to counteract that because there is only one you, only one self-report.

David Yeager

David Yeager

Comparing self-reports with multi-rater reports, University of Pennsylvania’s Angela Duckworth and David Scott Yeager of University of Texas Austin concluded that  “…each approach is imperfect in its own way.

These findings reinforce the importance of multi-rater feedback to provide insight into long-standing personality trends affecting health status.
This increased self-awareness can help people increase conscientious self-care, optimism, agreeableness, and calm stability to enhance long term health status.

-*How have you helped others improve health status by modifying personality styles?

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