Weird Science: Why Oscar winners live longer than non-Oscar winners


Last night’s Oscar winners won more than gold statues. They won a few extra years of life. That's right.  Oscar winners, Baseball Hall of Famers and Nobel Prize winners all live longer than their peers.

The answer is status.

Two teams of scientists have looked at the data and learned life expectancy was 3.9 years longer for Oscar winners than mere nominees. If you win a second time, you live even longer. Social status, not money or fame, turns out to be an important predictor of good health and long life. 

The status effect hasn't just been studied in performers, but also in athletes.  If you make it to the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Freakonomics guys, who wrote a bestseller by the same name and who now produce a podcast looking at the hidden side of everything, remind us that status-based longevity also hits the sports world.   Hall of famers live 10 percent longer than players who narrowly miss induction.  

Being nominated for a Nobel Prize is pretty impressive.  But if you want to live longer, you have to win it. Scientists crunched the data and found that Nobel Prize winners live between one and two years longer than Nobel Prize also-rans.

The benefits of status include lower stress and better cardiac health. Those aren't just life-extending for big time thinkers, actors and sluggers -- but for all of us.

Winners winning a few extra years… it's Weird Science.

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