I recently finished reading Daniel J. Levitin’s book Successful Aging: A Neuroscientist Explores the Power and Potential of Our Lives.This is one of the three best books I have recently read on this topic. The author is knowledgable, witty, and upbeat in contradicting many of the negative myths about aging. You can also find numerous engaging presentations by him online promoting the book. Here is one (click me) and here is a second (click me, too!)
And here are some of my earlier thoughts from past years as I began to admit that I was no longer the same age as my undergraduates!
When I was a graduate student, I would religiously read every article in every journal to which I subscribed. Alas, I subscribe to fewer journals now, and I have fallen out of that good habit. Perhaps I need to finish reading Charles Duhigg’s book about forming habits.
One of my resolutions as I wind up (and wind down!) my teaching career has been to invest more time in reading journals to which I still subscribe and weaving the knowledge both into my teaching and my life. My research interests across the years have been wide-ranging (impression formation, subliminal perception, the Mozart effect, effects of color on behavior, internet learning tools) no doubt in part due to my Oberlin College liberal arts education. My current research interests now are focused on aging, maintaining brain health, brain fitness training, truth in advertising, and memory —- no doubt because I am older as evidenced in the photos above!
In part motivated by Dr. Michelle Braun’s latest blog pieces about memory improvement, I just purchased a Harvard Medical School Special Health Report “Improving Memory: Understanding Age-Related Memory Loss.” I always find the Harvard reports well-written, easy to understand, and replete with actionable advise. Too bad I did not get the enrollment I needed to pursue this important topic in my research seminar.
I still find intriguing an article in the December 2013 issue of Psychological Science (found here) entitled “Aging 5 Years in 5 Minutes: The Effect of Taking a Memory Test on Older Adults’ Subjective Age.” Hughes et al. experimentally demonstrated that older (but not younger) adults felt subjectively older after taking (or even after expecting to take) a standard neurological screening test which dealt with memory! Tremendous implications here for future research on the effects of context (and culture) on self-perceptions of aging.
Among the books about aging that I am presently reading are:
- The Sharpbrains Guide to Brain Fitness (2013). I found the virtual conference that I attended last year of tremendous value (more about it can be found here or in some of my earlier blogs). I look forward to “attending” the February 2019 conference.
- Happiness is a Choice: You Make (2018): Lessons from a Year Among the Oldest Old by John Leland.
- The End of Old Age: Living a Longer More Purposeful Life (2018) by Marc E. Agronin. An interview with the author can be found here.
- Everything written by Carroll alumna Dr. Michelle Braun who kindly met with my research students for an hour last year to share her insights about brain health. Examples of her good work can be found here.
What other books about aging should I carefully examine?