The Daily Dose Blog The Daily Dose Blog Home

Outgoing people live longer

Life lessons, courtesy of the apes.

By Rich_Maloof Dec 6, 2012 4:28PM

Confident, outgoing people who are socially engaged live longer lives. How can that be when the rest of us want so often to punch them in the face?

Yet, it’s true. A study from the University of Edinburgh newly affirms that personality is intertwined with physical well-being. This time, the evidence arrives courtesy of our genetic brethren, the apes.

Photo: Paul Souders/Getty ImagesMore on MSN Living: Best sweater for your body type

As published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B and reported on LiveScience, animal experts familiar with some 298 apes from North American zoos and sanctuaries were asked to rate the animals on a set of personality traits including dominance, extroversion, neuroticism, and agreeableness. Researchers then compared the temperament assessments with information gleaned from over 18 years’ of data collected about the apes, including their life spans.

Of all the personality traits considered, only extroversion was linked to how long a gorilla was expected to live.

Researcher Alex Weiss was quoted by LiveScience as saying, “These findings highlight how understanding the natural history of personality is vital to ensuring the continued health and well-being of humans, gorillas and other great apes.”

More on MSN Living: 10 habits that keep marriages strong

What’s so great about them apes? Well, apparently these knuckle-draggers are on to something that only a commensurate number of humans have figured out. When we can find our way to being positive, curious, and socially interactive, our lives get not only better but longer. Mental health stands to be rewarded with, and mirrored by, physical health.

The CDC estimates the average life expectancy for Americans at 76.3 years for men and 81.1 years for women. Studies have noted that people who outlive the averages tend to be optimistic and easygoing. It may be that one set of underlying genetics has dual influence on personality and longevity, though we’ve also seen powerful indications that a good attitude paired with a close-knit group of family and friends can be fundamental to overcoming health challenges, including some genetic conditions.

With social graces come social support systems, a built-in network for caregiving, and reduced stress. There’s strength and safety in numbers, goes the living logic, and sociable people win the numbers game.

Photo: Paul Souders/Getty Images

Bing: World's oldest person dies.

More from MSN Living:
Worst cringe-worthy style and beauty fashions of 2012
The best beauty and style looks of the year
Marriage counselors: The trickiest issues we've ever solved

Subscribe to the Daily Dose


inspire: live a better life

  • Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental

    5 quiet and sophisticated Las Vegas hotels

    When you think of Las Vegas, noisy casinos, clubs, smoking, crowds and loud music all come to mind. In the past few years, an increasing number of non-casino hotels have opened, catering to business travelers or leisure travelers seeking a peaceful retreat. According to the NY Times, tourists are coming to Las Vegas, but the amount they’re spending on gambling is down. From the Mandarin Oriental to the Vdara Hotel & Space, many of these luxury hotels are smaller than their non-casino counterparts, which offers a more personalized experience. Visitors to these quiet, high-end hotels tend to spend their time in Las Vegas going to shops, eating at upscale restaurants, shopping and relaxing by the pool. Most of the quiet hotels are located on or near the strip, giving visitors easy access to activities but also an escape from the strip’s sensory overload. I’ve rounded up a list of the top 5 non-casino hotels.

  • money and happiness

    Money and happiness

    Happify shares their results of a recent study on how money affects our happiness.

  • woman on laptop (getty images)

    4 keys to Twitter's success

    A top exec reveals the company's secret code

  • How to land a job on LinkedIn

    Pro tips from the guy who's done it four times

  • social media hurt career (Getty Images)

    Sneaky ways social media could hurt your career

    Not all mistakes are as blatant as posting party pics when you're 'sick' at home.

  • happier Monday (Getty Images)

    How to have a happier Monday

    Everyone struggles through weekday drudgery to reach their weekend fun. But what if you could reclaim every day of your life?

  • 8 ways to keep your data secure

    8 ways to keep your data secure

    Ranked from the least to the most involved, here are the services, strategies, and products that can throw the data trackers off your trail.

  • The 10 worst US cities for driving

    The 10 worst US cities for driving

    Here are the 10 worst cities to have a morning commute, and a few tips for getting around the gridlock.

  • nerves (Getty Images)

    Just promoted? Here's how to ditch your nerves

    Zooming up the ladder is great, but questioning yourself 24/7 is no way to succeed. Manage your stressed self with these surefire tips.

  • party (Getty Images)

    Why you should let go and just go with the flow

    Forget trying to control every little detail. Life is lots more fun (and less stressful) when you let go from the get-go.

  • 9 tech habits you should break now

    Tech habits you should break now

    Some compulsions come from urban legends -- that never shutting down your computer, for example, means never forcing it to make the processor-straining effort to turn itself back on. Others are fully unconscious, such as papering your PC desktop with saved files and wondering why it's suddenly stuttering or crashing, or charging your phone whenever you're near an outlet, and later complaining about your plummeting battery capacity. Here are some of the most common maladaptive tech habits, and the easiest ways to break them.

  • Raising happy kids

    The science of happiness

    So, what exactly is this thing we call "happiness" and how do we get it?

about rich maloof
buzzing now on msn living
inspire videos
editor's picks