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Professor of Social and Personality Psychology, Stanford University

American Academy Distinguished Visitor - Class of Spring 2002

Laura L. Carstensen is the founding director of the Stanford Center on Longevity and a noted expert on socio-emotional selectivity theory, a life-span theory of motivation. She is the Fairleigh S. Dickinson Jr. Professor in Public Policy and Professor of Psychology. For more than twenty years her research has been supported by the National Institute on Aging, and in 2005 she was honored with a MERIT award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). With her students and colleagues, she has published more than 100 articles on life-span development.


Her most current empirical research focuses on ways in which motivational changes influence cognitive processing. Carstensen is a fellow in a number of professional organizations including the Association for Psychological Science, the American Psychological Association and the Gerontological Society of America. She has chaired two studies for the National Academy of Sciences, resulting in noted reports The Aging Mind and When I’m 64. She is a member of the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on an Aging Society.


The recipient of numerous professional awards and honors, she has been selected as a Guggenheim Fellow, received the Richard Kalish Award for Innovative Research and the Distinguished Career Award from the Gerontological Society of America, as well as Stanford University’s Deans Award for Distinguished Teaching.


Carstensen received her BS from the University of Rochester and her PhD in Clinical Psychology from West Virginia University.

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