In her book Counterclockwise, Harvard professor Ellen Langer recounts a groundbreaking study she did in 1979 that has since become the stuff of legend.
She took a group of male research subjects in their 70’s and 80’s on a retreat. The environment had been manipulated to make it seem like it was twenty years prior.
The residents were all aware of the real year but being immersed in the world of 1959 and being encouraged to act like they were younger men had powerful effects on them:
The experimental group showed greater improvement on joint flexibility, finger length (their arthritis diminished and they were able to straighten their fingers more), and manual dexterity. On intelligence tests, 63 percent of the experimental group improved their scores, compared to only 44 percent of the control group.There were also improvements in height, weight, gait and posture. Finally, we asked people unaware…
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