No, it doesn’t just seem that way. The New York Times has this summary of work by Howard Friedman, a psychologist at U. Cal Riverside and founder of a company called Longevity Insight.
Friedman’s findings buck much of the conventional wisdom on longevity. For instance, the cheerful study participants were less likely, on average, to live to a ripe old age than the more serious ones, in part because happy-go-lucky people are prone to “illusory optimism,” meaning they underestimate health risks and are less likely to follow medical advice. Highly sociable people, on average, did not live longer than less gregarious ones as is commonly believed, because they tended to drink, smoke and party more. Over all, Friedman found a longevity edge for the successful nerds of the world, the scientist types over lawyers and businesspeople. “The findings clearly revealed that the best childhood personality predictor of longevity was conscientiousness — the qualities of a prudent, persistent, well-organized person — somewhat obsessive and not at all carefree,” Friedman wrote.
This is today’s good news story for me.