People often say ‘You are what you eat.’ Well, it is equally true that you are what you think. Our self-perception is central in determining not simply how we think of ourselves, but the actual people we become. Graham Taylor shared some examples of this in his earlier post ‘What You Expect is What you Get.’
Nowhere is this principle more true than than when it comes to aging. If our concept of aging is characterized by words like such as “decrepit”, “decline”, “senility” rather than words like “maturity” and “wisdom”, then our self-perception as old people can have a self-fulfilling quality about it. (See our earlier post Becca Levy Shows Importance of Speech in Elderly Self-Perception.”)
This was shown in 2003 when The Gerontological Society of America published a study showing the effects of aging stereotypes. The article itself would be too long to share, but you can get a sense of the findings from the article’s abstract:
In the first part of this article, a wide range of research is drawn upon to describe the process by which aging stereotypes are internalized in younger individuals and then become self-stereotypes when individuals reach old age. The second part consists of a review of the author’s cross-cultural, experimental, and longitudinal research that examines the cognitive and physical effects of aging self-stereotypes. The final section presents suggestions for future research relating to aging self-stereotypes.
The key section of the article that I’m interested in is the second part, which explores the cognitive and physical effects of aging self-stereotypes. What the researchers found was that “When individuals reach old age, the aging stereotypes internalized in childhood, and then reinforced for decades, become self-stereotypes.” Exposure to these stereotypes were shown to affect a wind-range of behaviors, including the likelihood of cardiovascular stress when performing exercises.
In other words, you are how you think. If you think of age as necessarily and unavoidably connected with cognitive retardation, then there’s a good chance that this will be your experience. But if you think of age as unveiling new opportunities, a time to refine your skills and acquire new strengths, a time to work positively through the challenges that come with age, then you increase the likelihood of that actually being your experience.
Are you elderly and thinking about psychology licensing prep? If you are, then it’s time to start thinking positively about your age. Treat your age as an asset rather than a liability. As Graham Taylor pointed out earlier in the year, “a positive bias about aging can be especially crucial for those in mid-life or older who are preparing to pass their EPPP.” Taylor continued:
There are lots of elderly people who have chosen the Taylor Study Method to help them with their EPPP test preparation. If you are in your 50s, 60s or even 70s and you are reading this, we have good news for you. Your age need not hinder your EPPP success. In fact…you can actually leverage your age to help you pass the EPPP.
At TSM we endeavor to fully equip you to pass the EPPP no matter how old or how young you may be. Indeed, our customizable program of EPPP study materials can be tailored exactly to your needs and time-scale. To learn more, click ‘Get Started Now’ below to receive a Free Report on EPPP licensing secrets. Or become a trial member of our program to begin your psychology licensing prep today.