Research

The Lifespan Developmental Psychology Lab is working on two large projects funded by the National Institute on Aging.

Health in Midlife - MIDUS Project

Stefan lab

The Health in Midlife project is part of a large program project in which we collaborate with investigators at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and several other universities. We are analyzing a large longitudinal data set of more than 7,000 adults, ages 25 to 85, from the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) national survey. Our questions focus on identifying modifiable psychosocial and behavioral factors that help to reduce aging-related declines in health and cognition.

We have found a number of important dimensions that can attenuate declines especially for those who are most vulnerable or at highest risk for problems, that is, those with less education and those who are older. We also have found evidence of a long-term protective role of these factors.

Control Beliefs, Stress, Memory and Aging

Mike, Eileen drivingThe Control Beliefs, Stress, Memory, and Aging project is a laboratory-based study with adults ages 25 to 85. There is evidence that having a high sense of control over outcomes in life is tied to better cognitive performance, especially in later life. Our goal is to understand how beliefs about controllability make a difference for memory. We are studying the role of using effective strategies for remembering information.

We are also interested in how stress and anxiety interfere with optimal memory performance in later life. As we begin to understand the processes that lead to memory problems, we hope to develop methods that can be applied to improve memory in midlife and later life.