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Faculty Leader: Jeremy Bailenson, PhD
Faculty Advisors: Jonathan Berger, DMA, William Damon, PhD, Hank Greely, JD, Michael Greicius, MD, Samuel McClure, PhD, Gerald Popelka, PhD, Jeanne Tsai, PhD
Center Team: Amy YotopoulosLaura Carstensen, PhD, Dawn Carr, PhD

The mission of the Mind Division is to harness the human capital represented in a growing number of mature and talented older citizens. Absent significant disease, aging is associated with an increase in knowledge and expertise, emotional stability and heightened motivation to engage in meaningful work. At the same time, the speed and efficiency of new learning typically declines with age, as does sensory functioning affecting hearing and vision. Such changes can hamper the effectiveness with which people engage with work, families and communities.

The Center aims to develop and evaluate infrastructures that channel the strengths of older people into families, workplaces, and communities. This includes improving cutting-edge technologies that compensate for deficits in hearing, vision and balance. We work to understand and improve how older people make important decisions about health care and financial matters. We also pursue efforts to distinguish normal from disease-related aging in cognition, so that interventions and policies are targeted appropriately.

“How well people fare as they age is…affected by education, intellectual engagement, social networking, and planning – all things we can control as we envision our future.”
– Laura L. Carstensen, A Long Bright Future



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    Faculty Leader: Marcia Stefanick, PhD
    Faculty Advisors: Thomas Andriacchi, PhDKaren Cook, PhDMary Goldstein, MD, MS,
    William Haskell, PhD, Iris F. Litt, MDPamela Matson, PhDMargaret Neale, MS, PhD
    Center Team: Ken Smith

    The mission of the Mobility Division is to focus on challenges to physical movement across the life span. The goals of the Division are first, to address fundamental issues by supporting research in areas ranging from biology to the design of the built environment and second, to help translate the fruits of that research into products and policies that sustain or enhance mobility or develop accommodations for those individuals with limited mobility.

    The ability of an individual to move his or her body, and to move from place to place, is key to functional independence and quality of life. During the course of a lifetime, particularly in old age, both of these fundamental competencies may become impaired. The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed the following model to visualize how individuals’ functional capabilities typically change over the life course:

    The Mobility Division strives to help individuals maintain maximal functional capacity (blue line) for as long as possible. This includes research in lifestyle choices, such as diet, exercise and social interaction, all of which can affect an individual’s daily physical activity. When functional capability declines and moves closer to the disability threshold, it may be necessary to intervene with treatments or products to flatten or “bend the curve” upward. When functional capacity cannot be restored, it may be necessary to alter the built environment around the individual to accommodate disability.

    In addition to encouraging and supporting research on these topics, the Mobility Division strives to be a source of unbiased, scientifically-based information amid a proliferation of confusing, and often conflicting, messages from the public and private sectors.

    “How can we use science and technology to optimize human functioning so that we can live in good health for nine or ten decades? This will require an entirely new perspective.”
    – Laura L. Carstensen, A Long Bright Future



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    Faculty Leader: John Shoven, PhD (Academic Year 2014-15)
    Faculty Advisors: Jay Bhattacharya, MD, PhDGopi Shah Goda, PhDHazel Markus, PhD, William F. Sharpe, PhD
    Center Team: Martha Deevy, Steve Vernon, Marti DeLiema, PhD, Dominika Jaworski

    In an age of unprecedented longevity, a focus on lifelong individual financial security has never been more crucial. The mission of the Financial Security Division is to bring a unique interdisciplinary perspective to financial security issues facing our society by rethinking the perceived problems around an aging population, especially retirement planning and the need to work longer. By understanding the role that research, education and policy can play in solving these issues and by looking at the problems from multiple perspectives, we will drive the dialogue forward in order to facilitate a healthier state of long-term financial security for the individual and society.

    We bring together the best thinkers, policymakers, and business leaders to drive innovation and change around financial security issues. We focus our efforts on three topic areas: financial capability; the new career lifecycles; and common financial pitfalls such as fraud. For each of these areas, we identify key research and policy issues, catalyze research around practical solutions, disseminate information to key stakeholders and thought leaders, and discuss ways to encourage evidence-based policy decision. More specifically, for financial capability, we will explore how to help individuals become wise consumers of financial information and prepare for financial milestones such as retirement. For the new career lifecycle, we will redefine the concepts of “work” and “retirement” in order to reflect the reality of increased longevity. Finally, our work on common financial pitfalls such as fraud will consolidate research from a range of disciplines to form a unified understanding of fraud and effective fraud prevention.

    With a little creativity, we could craft work lives that are more satisfying and far less conflicted than the ones we have today. Rather than hold on tightly to the way things are, or just nibble around the edges of change, let’s redesign work. For once, time is on our side.”
    – Laura L. Carstensen, A Long Bright Future