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Laura Carstensen

Stanford University, Professor of Psychology

Dr. Carstensen is Professor of Psychology and the Fairleigh S. Dickinson Jr. Professor in Public Policy at Stanford University, where she is the founding director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, which explores innovative ways to solve the problems of people over 50 and improve the well-being of people of all ages. She is best known in academia for socioemotional selectivity theory, a life-span theory of motivation, and has co-authored and published more than 125 articles on life-span development. Her research has been supported by the National Institute on Aging for more than 20 years. In 2009, she authored A Long Bright Future: An Action Plan for a Lifetime of Happiness, Health, and Financial Security—an updated edition will be released in 2011.

Dr. Carstensen is a fellow in the Association for Psychological Science, the American Psychological Association and the Gerontological Society of America; has chaired two studies for the National Academy of Sciences, resulting in The Aging Mind and When I’m 64; and is a member of the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on an Aging Society. She has won numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Distinguished Career Award from the Gerontological Society of America. She received her BS from the University of Rochester and PhD in clinical psychology from West Virginia University.

9 Responses to Laura Carstensen

  1. Justin J. Joseph says:

    what do you believe are the future challenges for the discipline of psychology as a whole?

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  3. Dave Dorgan says:

    An idea from your TED presentation that captivated me was that while we old folks may present some burdens to society we also have unique gifts to offer that make life better for everyone. Seems obvious in retrospect, but we do have the time, experience, and the perspective of age that can make our contributions unique and substantial.

  4. Andre Vellino says:

    I enjoyed your talk a lot. I teach mindfulness meditation and it has several of the same happiness-benefits as aging does – greater ability to focus on what matters, to savour life and to live in the present. The encouraging thing about this is that it is possible to become wise before growing old chronologically! I am hopeful that the “intolerance for injustice” – both among older and the younger generations can be cultivated independently of the aging process.

  5. stan sirgutz says:

    fascinating topic,i’ma67 yr old retired dentist ,aging is a difficult topic for me,many issues were discussed,facinated,thanks

  6. Kat Haber says:

    Is living to 111 possible today if I am currently a 54 year young healthy woman in America?

  7. Rebecca Smith says:

    With overpopulation, overconsumption and depletion of resources, the overwhelming healthcare costs associated with aging, etc, – is increasing longevity really something we should be pursuing?

    • Great question, Rebecca. Overpopulation is a real concern. Increased longevity is not the problem, however. In places around the globe where life expectancy has increased, fertility has decreased. In other words, when people (especially women) are educated and have access to resources, people live longer and people also have fewer children. The ideal world population would be one where premature death and fertility are both low. We should be building a world where fewer people are born and those who are born live long and healthy lives.

      Laura Carstensen