Psychology and Aging: Nebraska Symposium on Motivation, 1991

By James E. Birren; Martha Storandt et al. | Go to book overview

Wisdom and Successful Aging

Paul B. Baltes, Jacqui Smith , and Ursula M. Staudinger

Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Education, Berlin

The purpose of this chapter is threefold. First we present a framework of seven propositions about the nature of aging. The first three propositions represent general findings from a research program on the mechanics (e.g., basic processes of memory) and the pragmatics (e.g., wisdom) of the aging mind that highlight the many and often opposing faces of aging. The remaining four propositions are about other aspects of aging: the dynamic between gains and losses, the resilience of the self, the heterogeneity of aging, and the distinctions between normal, optimal, and pathological aging. Second, based on this overall framework of the seven propositions, we proffer a psychological model of "successful" aging. It summarizes how aging individuals might maintain a high level of self-efficacy and well-being despite losses in an increasing number of psychological and biolog-

____________________
This chapter was written while the first author was a fellow ( 1990-1991) at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California. Many of the ideas dealing with the concept of successful aging contained in this chapter were first published in collaborative work with Margret Baltes (e.g., P. Baltes & M. Baltes, 1980, 1990). The first author also acknowledges the many collegial contributions made by members of the Research Network on Successful Midlife Development of the MacArthur Foundation (Chair: Gilbert Brim). We are also grateful for the editorial comments provided by Diane Hansen, Stephanie Shanks, and especially Kathleen Much, editor at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.

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Psychology and Aging: Nebraska Symposium on Motivation, 1991
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Aging and Slowing Of Behavior: Consequences for Cognition And Survival 1
  • References 33
  • Memory-Skills Training for Older Adults 39
  • References 119
  • Wisdom And Successful Aging 123
  • References 159
  • Trait Psychology Comes of Age 169
  • References 200
  • Natural Cohorts: Family Similarity In Adult Cognition 205
  • References 240
  • Maturing the Study Of Aging: Discussant'S Commentary 245
  • Conclusion 257
  • Subject Index 261
  • Author Index 269
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