Could thinking we are younger make us younger physically and mentally? This question is discussed in Counterclockwise, a new book by Ellen J. Langer.
Dr. Ellen Langer is a professor in the Psychology Department at Harvard University. In 1979, she and 4 graduate students undertook a study where a group of male nursing home residents in their late 70s and early 80s were taken on a week-long retreat, where they were asked to live like it was the year 1959, i.e. 20 years earlier.
The results were startling… the men appeared to become younger.
The men stayed in a place done up to look like it was 1959. All magazines, newspapers, films and TV and radio programs dated from that year, and there were daily activities such as discussions of 1959 current affairs, held as though it was the present.
In numerous other ways the men were encouraged to feel it was 1959, such as by having ID photos of themselves from that time, and discussing the work they had been doing then as though it was the present.
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