Age differences in descriptions of emotional experiences in oneself and others.
We analyzed language use to examine age differences in people's representations of their own emotions as compared with those of others. Participants (N = 365, aged 18-85 years, M = 42.8, SD = 19.2) read hypothetical emotion-eliciting scenarios and described how they themselves and the social partners involved in the scenarios would feel. Compared with those of younger adults, older adults' descriptions involved a higher frequency of positive and a lower frequency of negative emotions. Older adults were also more likely to describe a co-occurrence of positive and negative emotions, but less likely to describe the simultaneous experience of multiple negative emotions. Age effects showed similar patterns for participants' descriptions of their own emotions as compared with those of others. We discuss the implications for theoretical accounts of emotional aging.
Löckenhoff, CE; Costa, PT; Lane, RD
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