Archives for Midlife

Aging

Good Stuff I’ve Learned In A Year Of Real World Research

This blog celebrated its first anniversary on January 1, so I am therefore compelled (it's the law) to reflect on the past year.

Writing Real World Research has been fun and also a lot of work. I read a lot more research than I end up writing about. Academic writing is no easy read and I am eternally grateful to those researchers who manage to slip a little joke in here and there. Some papers...
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Aging

What It Takes To Be a Lifelong Learner

A friend learning her way around her new iPad wonders if learning really is different as we get older. And what’s the deal with that?

The short answer is yes, our ability to learn does change as we age. We get slower.

We have diminished capacity in our working memory as we age. That is, you can’t throw too much stuff at us at once. As a rule, it takes older people longer to learn things...
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Aging

How Researchers Are Getting It Wrong

Much has been made in recent years of research indicating that willpower is an exhaustible resource. This research suggests that if we exercise self control for a few hours to resist Facebook and do our work, for example, we will have a hard time resisting that oh-really-I-shouldn’t brownie sundae. There’s a whole book based on this research:  Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength is by one of the leaders in this...
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Aging

The Language of Dementia

New research from Penn State and the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging finds that caregivers of people with dementia are not listening to what the people they care for want.

The researchers interviewed 256 pairs of people. In each pair, one person had  mild to moderate dementia, the other was the caregiver.

From a press release from Penn State:
The researchers interviewed members of the pairs separately, asking questions related to how much...
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Cognition

A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Numbers

Before I could even enroll in community college, at age 41, I had to take a couple of summer semesters of “developmental algebra”—which was called “remedial” back when nobody cared about self-esteem.

Yes, I anticipated it with as much horror as you might imagine. Not only that, but it was a 7:30 class. Every morning, all summer.

I figured if I could make it through that, college would be a snap.

My grasp of numbers is...
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Aging

Like Mother Like Daughter Like Mother

According to research that will be published in the Journal of Consumer Behavior, women are more likely to buy clothes and make-up their teenage daughters like than the other way around.

A press release explains:
The study, conducted through questionnaires, sampled 343 mother-daughter pairs, with an average age of 44 for the mothers and 16 for the daughters. The researchers found that if a mother is young at heart, has high fashion consciousness and...
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Aging

Me And My Big Nose

When I was a teenager in a predominately Jewish girls’ summer camp, we had a little joke: For your sweet sixteen, you got either a pearl ring or a nose job.

Several friends opted for the nose. I didn’t, although my nose is no less prominent than theirs were. I like my nose just fine. I have a nose like my mother had and my father had and my brother has. And my grandfather had, for...
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Books

Everyone Can’t Be Famous (Not Even for 15 Minutes)


In about the year 2047, I think we’ll see a lot of glum middle-aged people.

A recent study shows that television shows preferred by tweens (ages 9 to 11) have increasingly focused on the aspirational value of fame.

Fame topped the list of values recognized in the top two shows for tweens in 2007 ( American Idol and Hannah Montana), up from fifteen (out of sixteen) in 1967 (Andy...
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Aging

Unfriending in the Real World


A recently published study finds that as we age, we become more content and have more stable and yet more complex emotional lives. We begin experiencing more  “poignancy,” which the researchers define as having positive and negative emotions at the same time.

Boy oh boy. Poignancy. There’s a lot of that to life, isn’t there?

The lead researcher behind the study is Stanford University developmental...
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Aging

Your Body Through the Eyes of Beholders

The language of scientists can be a sort of poetry; combinations of words with nuance of meaning that exactly capture something about how we think or behave.

In a paper titled The Acceptance Model of Intuitive Eating: A Comparison of Women in Emerging Adulthood, Early Adulthood, and Middle Adulthood, (read about the research here), I came across the phrase “observer’s perspective.”

Observer’s perspective: The way most of us understand our bodies, as a...
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