×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Certain 'Personality Genes' Correlate With Longevity, Says Study

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the i'm-sure-the-not-getting-in-bar-fights-gene-helps dept.

Medicine 72

An anonymous reader writes "People who are outgoing, optimistic, easygoing, and have a good sense of humor and a large social network are likely to live longer than others who don't possess these personality traits, according to new research (abstract). The study reveals how saying, 'It's in their genes' could refer to more than just genetic variations that give a physiological advantage, like having high levels of HDL ('good') cholesterol, because people with positive personality traits appear to live longer than those who do not."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

72 comments

Uh Oh. (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#40122647)

optimistic, easygoing, and have a good sense of humor and a large social network

Well, we here at Slashdot might as well go out and jump off a bridge. Really.

We're doomed.

Re:Uh Oh. (4, Funny)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 2 years ago | (#40122665)

I'm trying to invent a sense of humor so good that I will live forever.

I just need to be careful to not to stumble across The funniest joke in the world [youtube.com]

Re:Uh Oh. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#40143601)

I'm trying to invent a sense of humor so good that I will live forever

When my grandmother was 95 she told me "I don't know why people want to live to be a hundred. It ain't no fun bein' old."

The cause is likely that people who die young usually have maladies like heart disease, diabetes, etc. If your quality of life is bad, you're not likely to be happy and laid back.

Re:Uh Oh. (4, Interesting)

digitig (1056110) | about 2 years ago | (#40122817)

It did strike me that that was one reason people with positive personalities would live longer. Their suicide rate is likely to be lower. Also people who feel they have a lot to live for tend to be more careful driving and so on. Does the study distinguish between natural causes of death and all causes? (It's probably in the RA, but this is /. so I'm not going to read that, am I?)

Re:Uh Oh. (1)

estestvoispytatel (1091583) | about 2 years ago | (#40126511)

It does not correlate well with the deaths by texting behind the wheel: these lucky people are obviously getting a lot of calls and messages - and by definition they can't ignore any of them, because, well, it could harm their social network as well as reduce degree of both optimism and easygoingness. But sure, they could always use their sense of humor and have a good laugh on poor bastard trying to call them instead of picking up the phone.

Re:Uh Oh. (4, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | about 2 years ago | (#40126907)

Do you really think that texting behind the wheel is a sign of a healthy social life? Or of somebody who is desperate for approval?

Re:Uh Oh. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40126555)

Actually, all the study determined was that people approaching 100, from extremely homogeneous groups, were likely to be laid back, socially outgoing, etc.

Which seems a stupid way to go about it. At 100 years old, you mostly don't give a shit about what anyone thinks, about much of anything.

Assuming they got to be 100 because they always behaved that way is just dumb.

Re:Uh Oh. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40122843)

optimistic, easygoing, and have a good sense of humor and a large social network

They sound like the only ones that show up in the studies, easy to find. Mean while the live alone and are fine with it, remember to feed themselves and no central heating crowd fall off the radar. Them and the vampires (if they're not a subset).

Re:Uh Oh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40123167)

"optimistic, easygoing, and have a good sense of humor and a large social network"

Not so sure about the good sense of humor but this means Zuck is going to get 500 years old since he has the largest social network.

Re:Uh Oh. (2)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about 2 years ago | (#40127005)

They sound like the only ones that show up in the studies, easy to find.

I think that's a good point. My mother, whose father lived to 101 and mother to 95, will be 86 this year. She's a sharp as she ever was, drives like a 30 year old, and worked full time until last year when they laid off half the office. She'd still be working if that hadn't happened. She'll make it to 100 easy.
And I guarantee that she would not be bothered to answer any kind of questionnaire or participate in a study like that.

Re:Uh Oh. (1)

Quantum_Infinity (2038086) | about 2 years ago | (#40123017)

And here we go again. Someone seizes the very first opportunity to disparage the entire geek community. Speak for yourself pal.

Re:Uh Oh. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40123439)

Uh oh! Someone has a short life expectancy!

Re:Uh Oh. (2)

war4peace (1628283) | about 2 years ago | (#40123737)

You could just rephrase the article:

""People who are outgoing, optimistic, easygoing, and have a good sense of humor and a large social network are less likely to commit suicide, therefore more likely to live longer", study says.
DOH.

Re:Uh Oh. (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 2 years ago | (#40125879)

Is it a bad thing that I read the description and realized I'm basically the opposite of all of those things?

Fuck it, there's probably nothing to this study anyway. Scientists don't know what the fuck they're talking abbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb

Re:Uh Oh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127149)

Oh no! A mid-(key)stroke stroke! Um...can I have your stuff?

Re:Uh Oh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40127115)

So this is NOT a social network for nerds ?
Nerds are very social among nerds and we are much more "even" than other social groups. Just because we use the Net as our communication channel do not make us asocial, that is a claim from "other" social groups.

"A large social network"? (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#40122689)

I expect they're not exactly talking about Facebook... so will Mark Zuckerberg be filing a cease and desist against the authors?

People with positive personality are perfect (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40122699)

Well fuck you too.

AND 85% OF STUDIES ARE JUST PLAIN WRONG !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40122705)

Is this an exception ?? Nope !!

Re:AND 85% OF STUDIES ARE JUST PLAIN WRONG !! (2)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | about 2 years ago | (#40122799)

Including the study that determined that 85% figure.

Re:AND 85% OF STUDIES ARE JUST PLAIN WRONG !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40122883)

It's well know that 97% of statistics are made up on the fly. I read it on the internet.

Re:AND 85% OF STUDIES ARE JUST PLAIN WRONG !! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40123257)

Don't believe everything you read on the internet - that's how WW1 started.

How surprising (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40122729)

So, happy people live longer?
I'm shocked.

Re:How surprising (5, Insightful)

ne0n (884282) | about 2 years ago | (#40122937)

Bullshit. I submit as anecdotal evidence my finding that the super-old number disproportionately among the crankiest people I know.

I'll bite. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40123027)

let's explore the space:

Living longer + larger than average social network = vastly disproportionate experience of friend loss.

Living longer + optimism = Yeah! joy for me of living in this nursing home for another 20 years!

Living longer + outgoing = Talking to visitors that aren't there to see you. Year after year and leaving a disproportionate impression

Living longer + easygoing = I don't care what you think whippersnapper your going to be my single serving friend while you visit your dialysis Alzheimers grandpa.

Yup, pretty much your proving the study.

Re:How surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40124731)

By the time they're super old they are!

Irritating to the socially disadvantaged. (1)

Clogoddess (2591147) | about 2 years ago | (#40125567)

No matter my easygoing, optimistic, humorous internal state -- I have a disability whereby I look cranky and/or crazy. I get social crapola by the ton. People treat me like crap. I AM easygoing optimistic and humorous. Will I live long and prosper...or die young?? This study is irritating.

Re:How surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40126013)

So, happy people live longer?

What about people who are secluded and introverted, but still happy?

4 out of 5 (1)

srussia (884021) | about 2 years ago | (#40122737)

FTFS:

outgoing, optimistic, easygoing, and have a good sense of humor and a large social network

All I need now is to buy a controlling stake of FB and I'll live forever!

Re:4 out of 5 (4, Funny)

dgatwood (11270) | about 2 years ago | (#40123061)

Why buy now when you can wait six months and buy a controlling stake for less than a burger and some fries?

Obvious? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#40122777)

If you are a good guy with friends who looks after himself and stays both mentally and physically active, getting on in life instead of sitting on is fat arse all day you live longer. Who knew?

Re:Obvious? (3, Insightful)

MagusSlurpy (592575) | about 2 years ago | (#40122783)

Or even just having a more positive life (laughing, not stressing out) lowers your blood pressure and keeps you from stroking out.

Re:Obvious? (2)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#40122803)

Only if it's in your genes. If you have developed that personality by yourself that doesn't count.

Re:Obvious? (1)

VocationalZero (1306233) | about 2 years ago | (#40123769)

^ this ^

Every time the article mentions "personality genes", they put it in quotes too, because, I'm assuming, "many qualities that were associated with having a positive attitude towards life" loosely associated with longevity doesn't (or shouldn't) make the news cycle, unless this is the Obvious News Network.

That's a relief (5, Funny)

metacell (523607) | about 2 years ago | (#40122785)

Life as an introverted, brooding pessimist with no friends or sense of humour is hell, but at least it won't last as long.

Re:That's a relief (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40123045)

I'd congratulate you on coming to terms, but any accolades would only extend your miserable existence.

Re:That's a relief (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40125477)

Life as an introverted, brooding pessimist with no friends or sense of humour is hell, but at least it won't last as long.

When I was young, my father used to tell me that jealousy was something to be avoided. Ha ha, I'm just kidding, my father was Science, and Science is as vindictive as it wants to be.

Ladies and gentlemen, Equestrian Innovations gives you the Orbital Friendship Cannon [youtube.com] . For when you absolutely have to love and tolerate the shit out of something.

but... (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 2 years ago | (#40122795)

"People who are outgoing, optimistic, easygoing, and have a good sense of humor and a large social network are likely to live longer than others who don't possess these personality traits

But I'm a computer nerd you insensitive clod

Re:but... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 2 years ago | (#40128083)

"People who are outgoing, optimistic, easygoing, and have a good sense of humor and a large social network are likely to live longer than others who don't possess these personality traits

But I'm a computer nerd you insensitive clod

Let's see ...

Outgoing: You don't wait for the internet to connect with you, you connect to the internet. How more outgoing could you be?

Optimistic: Well, you are surfing on the internet, despite all the dangers of malware out there. You must be optimistic, right?

Easygoing: You are sitting comfortably in front of your computer, instead of hasting through the world.

Have a good sense of humor: You are laughing at Soviet Russia jokes on Slashdot, right?

Have a large social network: You are on Facebook, aren't you?

So don't worry, you'll have a long life ... and if not, you can just start the game again. :-)

hardly a surprise (1)

e**(i pi)-1 (462311) | about 2 years ago | (#40122805)

These correlations are hardly a surprise If you are healthy, wealthy you are more likely to live longer. And its easier to have a good sense of humor and optimisitic you are settled well. It is also more likely that you have a larger social network then. The correlation between healthy and living longer is trivial. The correlation between wealthy and living longer is no secret since health systems are already selective. If you are padded well you more likely will get an experienced surgeon for example or get a vital organ faster.

You listed none of the attributes (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#40123009)

These correlations are hardly a surprise If you are healthy, wealthy you are more likely to live longer.

All of the attributes listed (optimistic, outgoing, large social network) are totally orthogonal to being healthy and/or wealthy.

I have known a number of very ill people (some terminally so) that were still very optimistic, and a lot of outgoing optimistic people that were quite poor...

Obviously being wealthy means you have treatment options the average person does not have access to, but this study is saying you may have a better base to start with regardless if you are optimistic (which is true).

Re:You listed none of the attributes (2)

Sosarian Avatar (2509846) | about 2 years ago | (#40126715)

The problem there is that it's typical for those of us with disabilities or major/terminal illnesses to minimize our difficulties and try to seem 'normal' in order to not drive others away or create awkward silences -- and it eventually becomes easy to compartmentalize so that when we're with friends/family, we really are happy. It's very hard to describe without giving the wrong impression, but I'm essentially trying to say that while we're not automatically unhappy or miserable (and most of us aren't, once we've accepted this as our "normal"), the way we behave or seem also isn't a reliable indicator of our internal state.

As for being poor, that really depends on how much it's affecting the person. If their medical needs are being met, they're able to cover their bills and get themselves something pleasant once in a while, then sure, it won't affect their attitude as long as they're primarily around others of approximately the same income bracket. If they're poor enough that it means going without needed dental or medical care (especially if it leaves a visible impact, like missing teeth), can't afford to buy socially appropriate gifts, can barely cover their bills (or have to work out agreements with utility companies) despite cutting everything inessential, and can never indulge themselves -- then it's normal for one's mood to slip.

(Writing as someone with congenital disabilities that developed more problems in adulthood, living on Supplemental Security Income and knows a lot of others in the same position.)

Re:hardly a surprise (1)

elucido (870205) | about 2 years ago | (#40123597)

These correlations are hardly a surprise
If you are healthy, wealthy you are more likely to live
longer.

And its easier to have a good sense of humor and
optimisitic you are settled well. It is also more likely
that you have a larger social network then.

The correlation between healthy and living longer is trivial.

The correlation between wealthy and living longer is no
secret since health systems are already selective.
If you are padded well you more likely will get an experienced
surgeon for example or get a vital organ faster.

The wealthy and connected tend to live the longest? Is this supposed to be a surprise to anyone except the wealthy and well connected? I'm sure even they know they live longer. That is why they do everything to protect their wealth and connections.

Re:hardly a surprise (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#40146821)

AFAIK there's never been a study showing any correlation between wealth and happiness. Lacking a study, it's been my observation that those I knew whose main goal in life was more and more wealth were seldom happy. If you lust for wealth, no amount is sufficient. OTOH I've known a few people who were both wealthy and happy, but their main goal in life wasn't the pursuit of wealth.

You mean Type A douchebags die sooner? (3, Funny)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 2 years ago | (#40122935)

Who'd have thought that aggressive, competitive people end up dying earlier than more laid back types? Go Science!

Re:You mean Type A douchebags die sooner? (2)

demonlapin (527802) | about 2 years ago | (#40125279)

Of course, in the end, the only thing that matters for determining the composition of the human race is how many descendants you have.

Lies, damn lies, and statistics (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | about 2 years ago | (#40123085)

This doesn't necessarily mean that being easy going increases your health... it might just mean that easy going people are less likely to piss off homicidal maniacs!

Re:Lies, damn lies, and statistics (1)

elucido (870205) | about 2 years ago | (#40123587)

This doesn't necessarily mean that being easy going increases your health... it might just mean that easy going people are less likely to piss off homicidal maniacs!

Easy going people might just value their lives more and learn to be easy going as a way to protect their lives.

It doesn't change the fact that being easy going doesn't work in every environment and these sorts of studies don't consider that in some environments aggressive types live longer.

More fun (1)

HuguesT (84078) | about 2 years ago | (#40123165)

Sounds like the life of these people might be fun too. A long and fun life, this is not fair !

We make our own fun, we make our own hell (1)

Sussurros (2457406) | about 2 years ago | (#40125011)

We make our own fun and we make our own hell - at least a lot of the time. I've long been interested in those quiet old white-haired who have a twinkle in their eye and yet generally had really hard lives. My mother ran old-folks homes so I actually lived in three retirement homes as I was growing up - it taught me that old people are often very interesting if you slow down and listen. Some of them have the wickedest sense of humour!

One thing I did notice was that the cheerful outnumbered the curmudgeons by a large margin and the morose were simply not reprsented at all - at least that I can remember.

Another thing I noticed was that those who talked about nowadays did seem to live longer than those who talked about when they were young. It's hard to be sure on that though because even though the turnover was high we never stayed more than a few years at any one place

The greatest thing that the experience taught me though was to make sure that I never end up in a retirement home. They are incredibly restrictive and stultifying places which are run to suit the board first (inevitably populated entirely by the curmudgeonly), the staff second, and the old a very, very distant third.

Being born into the strong big family (5, Insightful)

elucido (870205) | about 2 years ago | (#40123573)

The best opportunities go to those born into strong big families. This is the large social network the study is talking about.
This isn't necessarily a gene because there isn't a specific gene we can identify which determines the size of someones social network, it's more some people are in the lucky sperm club and some are not.

If you're born into a big wealthy family you'll likely have a large social network, be more outgoing, etc simply because you were born into the environment which rewards that. If you're born into a small poor family none of those traits will be as beneficial. Being funny for instance wont help you if you don't have the large social network to begin with. Being outgoing wont help you if you've got fewer people to be outgoing with. There are too many variables here to conclude genes rather than environment and "luck" determine longevity in this instance.

Re:Being born into the strong big family (1)

slew (2918) | about 2 years ago | (#40124427)

You had be moing there for a little while, but then you tossed in that "wealth/poor" thing.

I doubt wealth has much to do with

1. How big the family is
2. How big the social network is around the family

Just about all the antecdotal experience I have suggests that wealth is negatively correlated with both family size and longevity...

Re:Being born into the strong big family (1)

elucido (870205) | about 2 years ago | (#40126745)

You had be moing there for a little while, but then you tossed in that "wealth/poor" thing.

I doubt wealth has much to do with

1. How big the family is
2. How big the social network is around the family

Just about all the antecdotal experience I have suggests that wealth is negatively correlated with both family size and longevity...

Wealthy families are often socially connected via marriages etc.

Re:Being born into the strong big family (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#40147185)

Just about all the antecdotal experience I have suggests that wealth is negatively correlated with both family size and longevity...

Here's a little antecdotal "evidence" (hah!) for you. My mother was the baby of a large family. Her brother, a businessman who wasn't rich but was very well off, died of a stroke at age 28. Her other brother was quite rich, and died at age 70. Her third brother is a university professor and in his nineties, as are all her sisters. At age 84 she's the youngest. Neither she or her living siblings (all but two) are rich.

(Of course we all know that anecdotes don't prove anything, all they do is illustrate a point)

What nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40125997)

On my father's side of the family (which I strongly inherited from) , we are Swedish, and we (and I) are all introverted, pessimistic, pensive, humorless, and we don't give a crap about having a "social network".

We tend to live (pretty healthily) to 95 - 98 years old, if the generation preceding me is any guide.

I guess they needed to spend their grant money publishing something...

I think I'll worry about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40126321)

I think I'll worry about this and give myself a heart attack. That's the proper way to respond to these studies, right?

No thanks. (1)

gumpish (682245) | about 2 years ago | (#40126439)

People who are outgoing, optimistic, easygoing, and have a good sense of humor and a large social network are likely to live longer than others who don't possess these personality traits,

Ugh. I'd rather die a few years earlier than live a vapid existence centered around exchanging banalities with other ape-descendants in meatspace. Fuck that noise.

Less stress (1)

Cant use a slash wtf (1973166) | about 2 years ago | (#40126545)

Generally people who have a more positive outlook on life are significantly less prone to stress. This could be a very good reason for why they live longer, as life is somewhat less strenuous for their heart.
I think it would have been useful if to measure the average stress levels of people involved in this study. I think you may very well find a connection that is less gene-related.

They're stealing your life from you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40128611)

We know that stress reduces lifespan.
The fact is these easygoing, unproductive slackers cause a lot of stress for the rest of the population because we're always fixing what they screwed up or just plain blew off. Obviously we need to kill them off in self defense.

Old joke (2)

Pseudonymus Bosch (3479) | about 2 years ago | (#40128623)

A journalist interviews the oldest man in town:
"How did you manage to reach such an old age? What's your secret?"
"Oh, it's just that I don't argue anymore"
"Come on, you can't tell us it's so simple. Please tell us the truth"
"Well, then it must be for some other reason as you say".

Re:Old joke (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#40147739)

A journalist interviews a man on his 100th birthday. "How did you manage to reach such an old age? What's your secret?"

"Well," says the old man, "in the first place, I don't drink. I don't smoke, and I never drink. I get plenty of exersize and eat right and I don't drink. I attend church every sunday and I don't let a drop of alcohol pass my lips..."

Right then there's a huge crashing noise from the other room. Startled, the reporter exclaims "What was that?!?"

"Oh, that's just my dad. He gets like that when he's drunk."

I am surprised. (1)

amanicdroid (1822516) | about 2 years ago | (#40129597)

So the angry hobo that stands in traffic screaming at cars will die sooner? Now if we could somehow correlate his behaviour with his genes while taking social factors into account as well.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...