Mentally Sharp

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.

SCL 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.

Center Team

Marie Conley Smith
Jialu Streeter, PhD

New Map of Life

Education: Ilana Horwitz, PhD, Fellow | Ari Kelman, PhD, Faculty Advisor
Intergenerational Relationships: Sasha Shen Johfre, Fellow | Jeremy Freese, PhD, Faculty Advisor
Early Childhood Influences: Jonas Miller, PhD, Fellow | Ian Gotlib, PhD & Paul Wise, PhD, Faculty Advisors

Featured Research

Gender Differences in Widowhood

Family Decision-Making Surrounding Life-Threatening Illness


The Emergence of Life-Long Learning
Chip Conley is a bestselling author, entrepreneur and the founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, the second largest boutique hotel brand in America. He currently serves as Airbnb’s Strategic Advisor for Hospitality and Leadership, and is a member of SCL’s Advisory Council.

In 2018, he founded Modern Elder Academy (MEA), the world’s first “midlife wisdom school,” where attendees learn how to repurpose a lifetime of experience for the modern workplace. MEA’s beachfront campus is located in Baja California Sur, Mexico.

He recently co-authored a white paper with Ingo Rauth, an adjunct professor for Management and Design at IE Business School (Spain), titled “The Emergence of Long Life Learning“, which is intended to be a conversation starter and “a starting point for educators, policymakers, and entrepreneurs who seek to develop programs and schools that help us live a life that is as deep and meaningful as it is long.”

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