Health

How our emotional lives improve with age

A: When I was an undergraduate, in the early ’90s, I was interested in development. At that time, the scientific literature was saying that our personality and emotions were fully developed by the time we are 18. I thought, “Wow, the next 50 years, nothing gets better? This is it?” Then I took a class from Laura Carstensen at Stanford, and she was the first to say that there was more development after age 18. She was finding that unlike physical fitness or cognition, where you may see slowing or declines, emotional regulation and experience are often as good, if not better, as we age. I fell in love with the idea of studying a process related to aging that is not defined by decline.


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