Stanford Experts

Laura Carstensen

Professor of psychology and of public policy and Director, Stanford Center on Longevity


(650) 725-0347



Laura Carstensen directs the Stanford Center on Longevity, which is working to transform the culture of human aging. The Center studies the nature and development of the entire human life span, looking for innovative ways to use science and technology to solve the problems of people over 50 and improve the well-being of people of all ages. Carstensen writes,"When Congress decides to allocate funds for research, it does so because citizens perceive particular needs. Until recently, however, there have been only modest efforts to use science and technology to improve human aging. Myths and gaps in our culture’s understanding of older people, as well as widespread misconceptions about old age, further hinder the flowering of a culture in which people age well. "That has to change. Fortunately, many of my Stanford colleagues throughout the campus are working on research that offers hope that we can help a greater number of people age healthfully and happily. These steps include changing our health-care system, our entitlement programs, our personal behaviors and lifestyles, and our appreciation of not only the unique challenges of aging but the great value older people contribute to a society."