Chapter 2 and 3 – Brittany Woo

The findings that were presented in chapters 2 and 3 of the Longevity project stated that a) conscientiousness was a key personality predictor of long life and that b) there was no association between being sociable as a child and living a long life. The second finding is especially intriguing because of all the myths surrounded around being sociable, being with groups and living a longer life. What people don’t realize is that the composition of these groups may also influence the longevity of life. Once again, chapter 3 left us on a cliff hanger, so I’m interested to see the unexpected, real social reasons for long term health.

Immediately after reading about how conscientiousness was a key personality predictor of long life, I instantly thought of people who may have scored low on the conscientious assessment. The behaviors they take part of are riskier, such as drinking or smoking substances. Also, now knowing that some people are biologically predisposed to be more healthy leads me to question if those who I thought of before ever have a chance to change their ways. By having more chemicals in the brain, like serotonin, they automatically have a leg up on regulating health-relevant processes like how well they sleep. Do the people I know that have sleeping problems have to become more conscientious person in order to maintain their health?

My biggest worry is to lose those closest to me because of unhealthy social environments and relationships. According to the self-assessment in chapter 2, I am scored exceptionally high in conscientiousness (39 out of 50). Would I be able to suggest to those around me about the finding of this book and the importance of being a more conscientious person? Perhaps by using the behavior changing techniques learned in lab, there are ways to encourage those around me to become a bit more aware of their social environments and behaviors that are not as high risk.

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