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Published on: September 11, 2012
by The New Zealand Herald:
Researchers have been working to determine if there’s any link between the length of life and the five major personality traits: agreeableness, extraversion, neuroticism, openness and conscientiousness.
A new study published in the Journal of Ageing and Health has found openness – the ability to entertain and be flexible to new ideas – is an indicator of longer life.
Creative thinking lowers stress and boosts the brain’s ability to stay healthy, Medical Daily reports.
Researchers looked at data from 1349 men, collected between the years of 1990 and 2008. During that time, 547 of the men died. It was found creativity rather than intelligence, or overall openness, reduced death chances.
Researcher Nicholas Turiano said creativity is tied to good health because it promotes neural networks in the brain. This is backed up by earlier research conducted at Yale University that found creative types had more white matter. White matter helps with connections between neurons and different parts of the brain.
Turiano said creative types also handle stress better than others. Stress is linked to a number of health problems like heart disease, immune issues and dementia.
Researchers examined people who are naturally creative and open-minded, however their findings suggests people can exercise creative-thinking techniques to keep their brain healthy.
Previous studies have also found neuroticism shortens lives and conscientiousness increases it.
Researchers from the Purdue University of Indiana; the Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiology Research and Information Centre in Boston; and the Boston University Schools of Medicine worked on the project.
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