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Do emotions change as we age?

Do emotions change as we age? This is Science Today. A team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley conducted a study to see how intensely people feel emotions, particularly sadness. Benjamin Seider, a graduate student in clinical sciences, says they showed study participants films that elicited this emotion.

Seider:            What we've been doing is thinking that sadness is an emotion that may be particularly salient in the lives of older adults. They're exposed to a greater number of losses and so we were wanting to see whether or not perhaps older adults would be more sensitive to the films that elicit sadness. What we found was that indeed, that was the case. They reported feeling more sadness and they were actually more physiologically aroused to sad films than the middle-aged or younger adults are.

Narrator:       Seider says they're hoping this knowledge will be useful for community interventions.

Seider:            Medical or psychological interventions need to be more focused to recognize that and to respond accordingly.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.