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Psychology faculty member publishes article in Journal of Aging Studies

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Posted on Thursday, March 7, 2024

The Journal of Aging Studies recently published an article on ageist memes co-authored by Dr. Loreen Huffman, lecturer of psychology at Westminster College.

 In “Age Differences in Emotional Reactions to Ageist Memes and Changes in Age of One’s Best Self,” Huffman and her co-authors examined reactions to viewing ageist memes, which are common in today’s social media environment and frequently shared online. Nine emotions were studied in age-related differences.

“In general, older adults report lower levels of emotions to ageist memes, except for experiencing more discomfort and disgust, which might not be too surprising,” said Huffman. The study also found that younger adults are more emotionally reactive to memes than older adults. Overall, these types of memes elicit less happiness, enjoyment and surprise.

The research also explored self-evaluation at various stages of life.

“It is the first study to ask adults of different ages about the time of their ‘best self,’” said Huffman. “It is common for older adults to report that they feel younger than their chronological age, but the notion of ‘best self’ asks a different question about when we were—or expect to be—idealized or ‘best" self.’” Younger adults, Huffman added, typically feel their best selves in the present, while older adults view their best selves in the past. Huffman plans to research this more in future studies.

Huffman is a developmental psychologist and has been a faculty member of Westminster College since 2020. Recently, Huffman's work has focused on experiences of older adults and the aging process. She earned her undergraduate degree from Pennsylvania State University and her Ph.D. from Rutgers University.

Huffman’s article appears in the Jan. 10 issue of The Journal of Aging Studies, a quarterly peer-reviewed scientific journal focusing on the study of aging and related topics.

For more information, contact Huffman at or 724-946-7360.

To learn more about Westminster’s psychology major, please visit