Age influences how people creatively think about their own, as well as other peoples’ emotions, according to research published in Studia Psychologica (Vol. 62, No. 2, 164-177). The results of this study show that an age-related decrease in emotional creativity may harm interpersonal relationships in older people.
The results of new academic research, recently published in the scientific journal Studia Psychologica, show how emotional creativity, i.e. the ability to think creatively about emotions, differs across human life. “Our research shows that most of our emotionally creative abilities decrease with age,” says Radek Trnka, PhD, a senior researcher at the Prague College of Psychosocial Studies.
During the research 407 older, midlife and younger adults were administrated the Emotional Creativity Inventory (ECI), currently the only method used for measuring emotional creativity. “The older the participants were, the weaker was their tendency to evaluate their emotions as novel and unique. With rising age the participants also thought less about their own emotional reactions and emotional experiences and searching for reasons for their own feelings,” Trnka adds.
The results of the presented study have important implications for people who are in close contact with older people, such as social workers and health care professionals but also family members. The decrease of emotional creativity in older age also includes paying less attention to other people’s emotions. This impairment can further influence emotional reactions, emotional experiences and subsequently also lower empathy towards others. These less empathetic behaviors may be perceived as insensitive or harmful by their social partners. This is how the degradation of emotional creativity can indirectly impair interpersonal relationships.
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Story Source: Materials provided by the Prague College of Psychosocial Studies.
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Journal Reference: Trnka, R., Kuška, M., & Cabelkova, I. (2020). Emotional Creativity Across Adulthood: Age is Negatively Associated with Emotional Creativity. Studia Psychologica, 62(2), 164-177.