Magazine article Work & Family Life

Do You Really Want to Ask, 'How Old Do I Look?'

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Do You Really Want to Ask, 'How Old Do I Look?'

Article excerpt

Are we obsessed as a culture with trying to look younger than our years? So it would seem. But before you ask the fateful question, "How old do I look?" check out this research. It may improve your odds for getting a satisfying answer.

It helps to look happy. A group of young, middle-aged and older participants were asked to look at thousands of photographs and to guess the ages of the models who posed with six different facial expressions. Neutral expressions produced the most accurate results. Fearful expressions tended to make the models appear older. And the models who smiled and made happy faces were consistently rated as younger than they actually were.

Researchers at Yale and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development say this is based on stereotypes: we tend to have positive associations with youth and negative associations with old age. Or it may be the so-called "halo effect, the perception of a smiling person as more attractive and younger.

Ask the right person. Older adults tend to think everyone is about a year older than their true age. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.