Laura L. Carstensen

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Socioemotional selectivity theory claims that the perception of time plays a fundamental role in the selection and pursuit of social goals. According to the theory, social motives fall into 1 of 2 general categories--those related to the acquisition of knowledge and those related to the regulation of emotion. When time is perceived as open-ended,(More)
This investigation explored 2 hypotheses derived from socioemotional selectivity theory: (a) Selective reductions in social interaction begin in early adulthood and (b) emotional closeness to significant others increases rather than decreases in adulthood even when rate reductions occur. Transcribed interviews with 28 women and 22 men from the Child(More)
As people get older, they experience fewer negative emotions. Strategic processes in older adults' emotional attention and memory might play a role in this variation with age. Older adults show more emotionally gratifying memory distortion for past choices and autobiographical information than younger adults do. In addition, when shown stimuli that vary in(More)
We examined age differences in attention to and memory for faces expressing sadness, anger, and happiness. Participants saw a pair of faces, one emotional and one neutral, and then a dot probe that appeared in the location of one of the faces. In two experiments, older adults responded faster to the dot if it was presented on the same side as a neutral face(More)
Age differences in emotional experience, expression, and control were investigated in 4 studies. A community sample of 127 African Americans and European Americans (ages 19-96 years) was used in Study 1; a community sample of 82 Chinese Americans and European Americans (ages 20-85 years) was used in Study 2; a community sample of 49 Norwegians drawn from 2(More)
Older people engage in social interaction less frequently than their younger counterparts. As I mentioned at the start, the change has been interpreted in largely negative terms. Yet when asked about their social relationships, older people describe them as satisfying, supportive, and fulfilling. Marriages are less negative and more positive. Close(More)
Two studies examined age differences in recall and recognition memory for positive, negative, and neutral stimuli. In Study 1, younger, middle-aged, and older adults were shown images on a computer screen and, after a distraction task, were asked first to recall as many as they could and then to identify previously shown images from a set of old and new(More)
As they age, adults experience less negative emotion, come to pay less attention to negative than to positive emotional stimuli, and become less likely to remember negative than positive emotional materials. This profile of findings suggests that, with age, the amygdala may show decreased reactivity to negative information while maintaining or increasing(More)