Introduction and Chapter 1

The main premise of the Terman experiment is “why do some people thrive into old age and why others die prematurely” (Friedman & Martin IX). Throughout his study, Terman found that “the people who lived the longest had certain habits and patterns of living and their personalities, career trajectories and social lives proved highly relevant to their long term health” (Friedman & Martin X). This finding is applicable to the present day because it seems as though elderly people who have a daily routine that consists of various activities live longer than those who do not have a routine. I found it very interesting that Terman was able to follow individuals throughout their entire lives and observe which characteristics influence the outcomes of their lives. One thing that I found most interesting in the reading was that many health threats are not due to bad luck, instead they are “systematic individual differences in susceptibility to injury and disease” (Friedman & Martin 1). The determining factor of who gets sick and who stays healthy are products of personality or other social issues. After reading this quotation and comparing it to everything I’ve seen regarding longevity, I found that most of the time people think that getting a specific illness is a product of bad luck, when in actuality getting this illness is based on various factors such as over all happiness, relationships with others and behaviors.

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2 Responses to Introduction and Chapter 1

  1. Jasmine Fernandez says:

    Maya- I agree that Terman’s experiment is interesting in that he was able to follow these individuals for such a long period of time and the fact that hiss study continued past his own death seems amazing to me. I was also surprised to read that “bad luck” does not have the influence we are led to believe that it does on our sudden illnesses. I have probably blamed “bad luck” over half of the times I have gotten sick, and it was shocking to find out that most of this is actually based on factors such as my relationships with the people around me. This is something I know I will consider now, when I come down with a cold or another illness I would typically blame my own luck for.

  2. Neelamberi Klein says:

    I really appreciate your focus on the idea that a lot of things we assume are random chance are actually predetermined at birth. Certain groups of people have evolved with different immunities and with different health issues and that fact tends to get lost in the hodgepodge that is the US. I have known a couple of people over the years who were considered the “canaries” and would be the first to get sick when something is going around. It is strange to think that after all those years of assuming those people just had bad luck, that they might have been at a high risk for these sicknesses than the rest of us were.

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