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Category: Guest Contributors

Age Is in the Eye of the Perceiver

Assessing our external world and the people in it is a daily activity we all engage in to navigate the terrain of life. Little research, however, has been done to understand exactly how our perceptions of others and ourselves change over the life span. A recent review article in Psychology and Aging begins to formulate some ideas on this topic by looking in-depth across several prior...

“I Know the Face, but I Can't Remember the Name”: Insight into Facial Recognition & Memory Loss in Older Adults

“I know the face, but I can’t remember the name,” is something we’ve all experienced before (i.e., recognition and remembrance of visual stimuli not syncing up with the related chunk of verbal memory). But where does this phenomenon originate in the brain? New research provides evidence that, for older adults, “motion cues” may play a large role in...

Older Adults Who “Use It” by Volunteering Are Less Likely to “Lose It”

The phrase “use it or lose it” has been uttered for years to humorously explain the physical and mental decline that can occur when individuals stop exercising and regularly engaging their mental faculties—especially in older age. Now recent research has expanded this umbrella to encompass the effects of inactivity related to working life as well. Specifically, recent research on...

Your Early Morning Caffeine Fix May Be Less Demented Than You Think

Ever question your sanity after paying five dollars for a latte? Many of us have. Indeed, it’s not news to anyone that many adults cite coffee as one of the essentials they need to get their mornings going. That said, recent research suggests that our willingness to stand in that long Starbucks line may be less demented than previously thought. Specifically, the authors found that...

“When I Was Your Age. . .”: Benefits of Reminiscence & Storytelling

You may recall stories your parents told you about when they were growing up. One poignant story my dad loved to tell my sister and me centered on how he was dumped by all three of his kindergarten girlfriends in a span of 60 seconds during one fateful afternoon drawing activity. As the story goes, my six-year-old dad had somehow acquired three tot-sized girlfriends in his class—that...

The More You Know: A PSA on How to Be a Wiser Consumer of Scientific Research

A recent study in Neurobiology of Aging attempted to further scientific understanding of how the aging process impacts the human capacity to empathize. While the findings were less than conclusive, they have provided additional support for what neuro-psychological researchers have known for years—functional MRI (fMRI) studies are expensive, and small sample sizes lead to inconclusive...

How-Tos for Savoring the Joys in Life

How do you respond during positive experiences in your life? Sometimes, in the midst of a happy moment, we are already focused on the next task or upcoming challenge, and we don’t take the time to fully experience the joy and richness of a positive event. Savoring is the ability to be aware of positive experiences and to enhance our enjoyment and appreciation of them. By actively...

Reflections on Aging, Irony & Wisdom

“Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.”—Charlie Chaplin To paraphrase the wise comedian, life is ironic—a paradox that sometimes makes us laugh and other times scream-cry like a colicky baby. The notions of irony and wisdom have been married in the world of comedy since the beginning of time—like Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman. That said, pairing...

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