Skip to:

Laura L. Carstensen

Laura L. Carstensen, MA, PhD

Director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, Professor of Psychology,
Stanford Health Policy Associate

Department of Psychology
Stanford University
Building 420, Room 167
Stanford, CA 94305-2130

(650) 723-3102 (voice)
(650) 725-5699 (fax)


Laura L. Carstensen, Ph.D., is a member of the Psychology Department at Stanford University, where she is also Founding Director of the Stanford Center on Longevity and the Fairleigh S. Dickinson Jr. Professor in Public Policy. For more than twenty years her research has been supported by the National Institute on Aging, and in 2005 she was honored with a MERIT award. Carstensen is best known for socioemotional selectivity theory, a life-span theory of motivation. With her students and colleagues, she has published well over 100 articles on life-span development. Her most current empirical research focuses on ways in which motivational changes influence cognitive processing.

Dr. Carstensen is a fellow in a number of professional organizations including the Association for Psychological Science, the American Psychological Association and the Gerontological Society of America. She serves on the Board of Science Advisors to the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany and has chaired two studies for the National Academy of Sciences, resulting in The Aging Mind and When I’m 64. She is a member of the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on an Aging Society.

The recipient of numerous professional awards and honors, she has been selected as a Guggenheim Fellow, received the Richard Kalish Award for Innovative Research and the Distinguished Career Award from the Gerontological Society of America, as well as Stanford University's Deans Award for Distinguished Teaching. Professor Carstensen received her B.S. from the University of Rochester and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from West Virginia University.

Stanford Affiliations