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Laura Carstensen: 'I'm Suggesting We Change the Way We Work'

Americans don't just need to work longer, they need to work differently, according to a noted longevity researcher.

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Our guest on the podcast today is Laura Carstensen. She is professor of psychology at Stanford University, where she is the Fairleigh S. Dickinson Professor in Public Policy and founding director of the Stanford Center on Longevity. Her research focuses on the motivational and emotional changes that occur with age and the influence such changes have on cognitive processing. She is the author of a A Long Bright Future: Happiness, Health, and Financial Security in an Age of Increased Longevity. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Rochester, and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from West Virginia University.



Stanford Center on Longevity

A Long Bright Future: Happiness, Health, and Financial Security in an Age of Increased Longevity, by Laura Carstensen, Ph.D.

The Pandemic

Age Advantages in Emotional Experience Persist Even Under Threat From the COVID-19 Pandemic,” by Laura L. Carstensen, Yochai Z. Shavit, and Jessica T. Barnes,, Oct. 26, 2020.

A Life-Course Model for Healthier Ageing: Lessons Learned During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” by Laura L. Carstensen, Ashley Jowell, and Michele Barry,, October 2020.


Growing Old or Living Long: Take Your Pick,” by Laura L. Carstensen,, Winter 2007.

Laura Carstensen’s TED Talk: Older People Are Happier,”, April 2012.

Retire at 80!—So Says University Professor and Longevity Expert,” by Perry Brissette,, July 4, 2018.

Opinion: We Need a Major Redesign of Life,” by Laura Carstensen,, Nov. 29, 2019.

Longevity and Retirement: An Expert on Aging Explains How Retirement Is Being Redefined,” Fidelity Viewpoints,, Feb. 3, 2021.

Boomers: Less Tied to Friends and Family as Others Are,” by Laura L. Carstensen,, May 31, 2016.

Exercise Holds Immediate Benefits for Affect and Cognition in Younger and Older Adults,” by Candace L. Hogan, Jutta Mata, and Laura L. Carstensen,, June 2013.

How Merrill Lynch Is Planning for Its Customers to Live to 100,” by Susan Wilner Golden and Laura L. Carstensen,, March 4, 2019.

There’s a New Way of Living Thanks to Longevity,”, May 16, 2019.

Selective Narrowing of Social Networks Across Adulthood Is Associated With Improved Emotional Experience in Daily Life,” by Laura L. Carstensen and Tammy English,, March 2014.

Leveraging Goals to Incentivize Healthful Behaviors Across Adulthood,” by Laura L. Carstensen, Teja Chemudupati, Jessica T. Barnes, Candice L. Hogan, and Sarah Raposo,, July 2020.

Cognitive Decline

Selective Narrowing of Peripheral Social Networks Predicts Poor Long-Term Cognition in Old Age,” by Laura L. Carstensen, Hsiao-Wen Liao, and Yochai Shavit,, November 2019.

Integrating Cognitive and Emotion Paradigms to Address the Paradox of Aging,” by Laura L. Carstensen,, November 2018.

The Theory Behind the Age-Related Positivity Effect,” by Laura L. Carstensen and Andrew E. Reed,, Sept. 27, 2012.

The Positivity Effect: A Negativity Bias in Youth Fades With Age,” by Laura L. Carstensen and Marguerite DeLiema,, February 2018.

Alternative Retirement Paths and Cognitive Performance: Exploring the Role of Preretirement Job Complexity,” by Laura L. Carstensen, Dawn C. Carr, Robert Willis, and Ben Lennox Kail,, April 2020.

Messaging to Older Adults

Hal Hershfield

Your Message to Older Adults Is Outdated,” by Hal Hershfield and Laura L. Carstensen,, July 2, 2021.

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