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Laura Carstensen, PhD

Professor of Psychology, Stanford University

General Session 1: A New Map of Life

Discussions about aging underway in the nation and around kitchen tables are typically fraught with concern. However, many of the challenges stem from a fundamental mismatch between the length of the lives we are living and the social norms and cultural institutions that guide us through life. In this talk, I provide a birds-eye view of longevity, the role that culture played in extending life expectancy, and offer a blueprint for new map of life that can better support century-long lives.

Biography

Laura Carstensen is Professor of Psychology at Stanford University where she is the Fairleigh S. Dickinson Jr. Professor in Public Policy and founding director of the Stanford Center on Longevity. Her research program includes theoretical and empirical study of motivational and emotional changes that occur with age and the influence such changes have on cognitive processing. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and has served on the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on an Aging Society and the National Advisory Council on Aging to National Institute on Aging. Carstensen’s awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Kleemeier Award, The Richard Kalish Award for Innovative Research and distinguished mentor awards from both the Gerontological Society of America and the American Psychological Association. She is the author of A Long Bright Future: Happiness, Health, and Financial Security in an Age of Increased Longevity. Carstensen received her B.S. from the University of Rochester and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from West Virginia University. She holds an honorary doctorate from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.