A person’s ability to self-reflect is associated with cognition and glucose metabolism later in life, a new study finds. Those who engage in more self-reflection had improved cognition, better overall brain health, and increased glucose metabolism later in life.
Self-reflection is positively associated with cognition late in life as well as glucose metabolism, a marker of brain health, finds a new study led by UCL researchers.
The authors of the new study, published in Neurology, say that older adults who engage in self-reflection may have a reduced risk of dementia.
Lead author, Ph.D. student Harriet Demnitz-King (UCL Psychiatry), says that “there is a growing body of evidence finding that positive psychological factors, such as purpose in life and conscientiousness, may reduce the risk of dementia.
“Anyone can engage in self-reflection and potentially increase how much they self-reflect, as it is not dependent on physical health or socioeconomic factors.”
The researchers found that people who engaged more in self-reflection had better cognition and improved glucose metabolism as shown by brain imaging. The researchers did not find any association with amyloid deposition, the build-up of harmful brain proteins linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
They caution that while their findings suggest that engagement in self-reflection helps to preserve cognition, they cannot rule out that it might instead be that people with better cognition are also better able to self-reflect, and suggest that more, longitudinal research is needed to determine the direction of causation.