Looking at the Sunny Side of Life: Emotion and How It Affects Our Thinking Across the Lifespan

Stacey Wood, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Scripps College.

Mood is the filter through which we see the world. As such, it consistently accompanies us throughout our lives, sometimes with a consistent inconsistency. Working with undergraduates, Stacey Wood, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Scripps College, can't help but marvel at their energy and zest for life. When they are happy, the sun is shining, lectures are fascinating, and all is right with the world; however, there is inevitably a time in the semester when a change in mood becomes apparent. Events such as a poor midterm grade or difficulty with a relationship mark an end to the sunshine, energy, and interest in fascinating lectures. In comparing herself with her students, Professor Wood felt that her own life seemed quite dull, with fewer days of elation and, thankfully, fewer days of despair. Research from her laboratory and that of others suggests that this observation of differences between students and their professors may be biologically based on age. There are changes in the way that the brain processes emotional information as we age. Older adults demonstrate less reactivity to emotional information, in general, and specifically are much less reactive to negative information than younger adults. Both the older and the younger are invited to bring their lunches - and their moods - to this noon lecture.

Wednesday, April 5th, 12:00 noon

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