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      Social and Emotional Aging

      1 , 2
      Annual Review of Psychology
      Annual Reviews

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          Abstract

          The past several decades have witnessed unidimensional decline models of aging give way to life-span developmental models that consider how specific processes and strategies facilitate adaptive aging. In part, this shift was provoked by the stark contrast between findings that clearly demonstrate decreased biological, physiological, and cognitive capacity and those suggesting that people are generally satisfied in old age and experience relatively high levels of emotional well-being. In recent years, this supposed “paradox” of aging has been reconciled through careful theoretical analysis and empirical investigation. Viewing aging as adaptation sheds light on resilience, well-being, and emotional distress across adulthood.

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          Most cited references131

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          Aging and motivated cognition: the positivity effect in attention and memory.

          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 affective valence, positive items account for a larger proportion of older adults' subsequent memories than those of younger adults. This positivity effect in older adults' memories seems to be due to their greater focus on emotion regulation and to be implemented by cognitive control mechanisms that enhance positive and diminish negative information. These findings suggest that both cognitive abilities and motivation contribute to older adults' improved emotion regulation.
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            The neuroendocrinology of stress and aging: the glucocorticoid cascade hypothesis.

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              Differential aging of the brain: patterns, cognitive correlates and modifiers.

              Deciphering the secret of successful aging depends on understanding the patterns and biological underpinnings of cognitive and behavioral changes throughout adulthood. That task is inseparable from comprehending the workings of the brain, the physical substrate of behavior. In this review, we summarize the extant literature on age-related differences and changes in brain structure, including postmortem and noninvasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies. Among the latter, we survey the evidence from volumetry, diffusion-tensor imaging, and evaluations of white matter hyperintensities (WMH). Further, we review the attempts to elucidate the mechanisms of age-related structural changes by measuring metabolic markers of aging through magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). We discuss the putative links between the pattern of brain aging and the pattern of cognitive decline and stability. We then present examples of activities and conditions (hypertension, hormone deficiency, aerobic fitness) that may influence the course of normal aging in a positive or negative fashion. Lastly, we speculate on several proposed mechanisms of differential brain aging, including neurotransmitter systems, stress and corticosteroids, microvascular changes, calcium homeostasis, and demyelination.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Annual Review of Psychology
                Annu. Rev. Psychol.
                Annual Reviews
                0066-4308
                1545-2085
                January 2010
                January 2010
                : 61
                : 1
                : 383-409
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine, California 96297; email:
                [2 ]Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305; email:
                Article
                10.1146/annurev.psych.093008.100448
                3950961
                19575618
                4a820140-13f0-4ee4-94aa-1873093d4eef
                © 2010
                History

                Geriatric medicine,Medicine,Neurology,Anatomy & Physiology,Health & Social care,Public health

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