We’ve all had moments of frustration when we can’t remember someone’s name or where we put the car keys. If this happens to you and you’re 25, you shrug it off as a temporary lapse of memory. If you’re over 50, you likely label it as a ‘senior moment” and start to question your cognitive abilities.

According to Yale Professor Becca Levy, PhD and author of the new book, Breaking the Age Code: How Your Age Beliefs Determine How Long and Well You Live, labeling this a ‘senior moment’ is an example of an ageist belief. Levy tells us these “moments of forgetfulness can happen at any age. Sometimes memory simply short circuits and it happens to everyone.”

Why then do we immediately attribute a memory lapse to cognitive decline due to aging? The answer is that it’s what our culture teaches us and the way we tell ourselves how to grow old. It’s important to note, however, that if we believe we’re in cognitive decline due to our age, that can, in fact, negatively affect our mental abilities. According to extensive research by Dr. Levy, negative ageist beliefs affect our well-being, self-esteem and even our longevity.

Read the full article on Forbes.com here.