Shifts in emotional experience and regulation across adulthood tammy engLisH anD Laura L. carstensen
Aging is associated with decline in many psychological processes, such as executive functioning and working memory, yet recent research suggests that emotional functioning is relatively well preserved. In fact, in some ways, emotional experience and regulation appears to improve. Older people are slower to anger and more likely to forgive, manage social relationships with less conflict, and report greater satisfaction with family and close friends than do younger people (Luong, Charles, and Fingerman, 2011). Importantly, older adults are not only more skilled at regulating emotional states, but they also appear to be more motivated to do so (Carstensen, 2006). In this chapter, we provide an overview of age differences in emotional experience and regulation during adulthood, and discuss possible mechanisms that may underlie such age-related shifts.