Age differences in descriptions of emotional experiences in oneself and others

Corinna E. Löckenhoff, Paul T. Costa, Richard D Lane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


We analyzed language use to examine age differences in people's representations of their own emotions as compared with those of others. Participants (N = 365, aged 18-85 years, M = 42.8, SD = 19.2) read hypothetical emotion-eliciting scenarios and described how they themselves and the social partners involved in the scenarios would feel. Compared with those of younger adults, older adults' descriptions involved a higher frequency of positive and a lower frequency of negative emotions. Older adults were also more likely to describe a co-occurrence of positive and negative emotions, but less likely to describe the simultaneous experience of multiple negative emotions. Age effects showed similar patterns for participants' descriptions of their own emotions as compared with those of others. We discuss the implications for theoretical accounts of emotional aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008



  • Age-related differences
  • Emotional aging
  • Emotional experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Aging
  • Psychology(all)

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