Mara Mather is a Professor of Gerontology and Psychology at the University of Southern California. Her research focuses on brain systems that regulate physiological and emotional arousal, how they affect attention, memory and decision making, and how these relationships change in aging. She has received the Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology from the American Psychological Association, a National Institutes of Health K02 Career Development award, an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Fellowship and a Max Planck Sabbatical Award. Her research on emotion-cognition interactions and how they change in aging has been funded continuously by a series of grants from the National Institutes of Health. Her current NIH-funded projects focus on the role of norepinephrine in age-related change in cognition and on how heart rate variability biofeedback can enhance function of the brain’s emotion regulation networks. She received her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Princeton University and completed her undergraduate degree and postdoctoral training at Stanford University.
August 16th, 2020 | 44 mins 41 secs
alzheimer’s disease, attention, balloon analogue risk task, culture, emotions, happiness, heiko braak, hyperphosphorylated tau, iowa gambling task, laura carstensen, locus coeruleus, mara mather, meaning, memory, neuroscience, philosophy, psychology, purpose, reasoning, social psychology, society, socio-emotional selectivity theory, time horizons, wisdom
Despite the common stereotype of ‘older and crankier,’ psychologists suggest we become more positive as we age. Why? Do our aging brains become worse at detecting threats in the environment? Do we choose to focus on more positive aspects of our experience as we age? And what does the latest scientific research say about one of the major dangers of older age — Alzheimer’s disease? Mara Mather joins Igor and Charles to discuss the neuroscience of emotional aging, the role of the locus coeruleus in memory and attention, emotion-induced blindness, and the parallels between Cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Igor digs into the different roles of culture and the lack of good longitudinal studies of aging, Mara reveals how intense emotions can sharpen some aspects of our memories of an event while blunting others, and Charles learns that he and many others may be on the Alzheimer’s spectrum. Welcome to Episode 30.