A new study shows that people who go to museums, art galleries, the theater, and concerts live longer than those who don’t. The researchers, professors of psychology and epidemiology, described in detail their study’s methods, sample, and most importantly, its limitations. The A-Number-One Requirement of all legitimate scientific investigations is conveying exactly what the research can and CAN NOT do. These researchers made it unmistakably clear that causality cannot be inferred or assumed.
Over the past several days I read dozens of articles written by those who saw this study on the wire services. Most disregarded the explicit warning label that says it provides no evidence that exposure to the arts results in longer lifespans. Below are three of many headlines ignoring those warnings and falsely claiming that involving oneself with the arts causes longer lives. Their conclusions may be accidental (poor comprehension and sloppy analysis) or deliberate (they grab the reader’s eye and make for a better story). Either way, they’re wrong.