Derek M Isaacowitz's research while affiliated with Northeastern University and other places

Publications (165)

Article
Although some lab studies suggest older adults rely more on attentional deployment to regulate their emotions, little is known about age differences in specific attention deployment tactic use and how they relate to mood regulation in everyday life. The current longitudinal experience sampling study considered several different attention deployment...
Article
Background and Objectives Despite well-documented cognitive and physical declines with age, older adults tend to report higher emotional wellbeing than younger adults, even during the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. To understand this paradox, as well as investigate the effects of specific historical contexts, the current study examin...
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Do adults of different ages differ in their focus on positive, negative, or neutral information when making decisions? Some research suggests an increasing preference for attending to and remembering positive over negative information with advancing age (i.e., an age-related positivity effect). However, these prior studies have largely neglected th...
Article
Older adults report surprisingly positive affective experience. The idea that older adults are better at emotion regulation has emerged as an intuitively appealing explanation for why they report such high levels of affective well-being despite other age-related declines. In this article, I review key theories and current evidence on age difference...
Article
Objectives Despite declines in physical and cognitive functioning, older adults report higher levels of emotional well-being (Charles & Carstensen, 2010). Motivational accounts suggest that differences in goals lead to age-related differences in affect through differences in emotion regulation behaviors, but evidence for age differences in emotion...
Article
When managing their emotions, individuals often recruit the help of others; however, most emotion regulation research has focused on self-regulation. Theories of emotion and aging suggest younger and older adults differ in the emotion regulation strategies they use when regulating their own emotions. If how individuals regulate their own emotions a...
Article
Prior research suggests individuals can reappraise autonomic arousal under stress to improve performance. However, it is unclear whether arousal reappraisal effects are apparent at all ages. Seventy-three younger and 47 older adults received guided instruction to be in a state of challenge or threat while completing a mental arithmetic task. In add...
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Some GSA journals are especially interested in promoting transparency and open science practices, reflecting how some subdisciplines in aging are moving toward open science practices faster than others. In this talk, I will consider the transparency and open science practices that seem most relevant to aging researchers, such as preregistration, op...
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Most work on emotional attention in aging has focused exclusively on stimulus valence, with very few studies systematically examining how younger and older adults may differ in their attention to emotional stimuli that varies by both valence and arousal. This could be potentially important when evaluating early attentional processes, as previous wo...
Chapter
In this chapter we consider the role of motivation in emotion-cognition links, and how goals may relate to age differences (and similarities) in emotion regulation. Socioemotional Selectivity Theory (SST) posits that, as their future time perspective shrinks, older adults become more motivated to prioritize their emotion well-being and exhibit “pos...
Article
Building on the seminal definition of “healthy aging” by the World Health Organization (WHO, 2015; 2020), we present a model of motivation and healthy aging that is aimed at identifying the central psychological constructs and processes for understanding what older persons value, and how they can attain and maintain these valued aspects of their li...
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Intergenerational conflict occurs commonly in the workplace because of age-related differences in work attitudes and values. This study aimed to advance the current literature on aging and work by examining whether younger and older workers differ in their visual attention, emotional responses, and conflict strategies when observing hypothetical co...
Article
Prior research has established the importance of social relations and social embeddedness for motivation in healthy aging. Thus, social orientation appears to be essential for understanding healthy aging. This article focuses particularly on age-related changes in goals concerning social orientation, such as increased prioritization of emotional go...
Article
Objectives: Self-reported emotional well-being tends to increase with age (Charles & Carstensen, Annual Review of Psychology, 61, 383–409, 2010), and this has remained true during the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g. Bruine de Bruin, The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 76(2), e24–e29, 2021) despite older adults being disproportionately affected by the vi...
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Full-text available
Some GSA journals are especially interested in promoting transparency and open science practices, reflecting how some subdisciplines in aging are moving toward open science practices faster than others. In this talk, I will consider the transparency and open science practices that seem most relevant to aging researchers, such as preregistration, op...
Article
Full-text available
Self-reported emotional well-being tends to increase with age (Charles & Carstensen, 2007), but evidence for age differences in emotion regulation strategies is mixed (Livingstone & Isaacowitz, 2019), and the strategy of acceptance, in particular, is relatively understudied. Acceptance involves the deliberate decision to not alter a situation or on...
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Prior studies have examined age differences in attention to emotional stimuli; in the current study, we considered how this might relate to dispositional measures of attentional control across age groups. Participants were 116 middle-aged (aged 35 – 64 years) and 39 older (aged 65-86 years) adults in the United States. In the study, participants fi...
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This study investigated age differences and similarities in younger and older women’ ability to accurately judge others’ emotions, personality, and rapport, collectively referred to as interpersonal accuracy (IPA). A sample of 124 young (ages 18-22) and 94 older women (ages 60-90) completed four different IPA tasks: two emotion perception tasks usi...
Article
Cambridge Core - Cognition - The Cambridge Handbook of Cognitive Aging - edited by Ayanna K. Thomas
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Objectives: Most studies of emotion regulation across the lifespan have focused on how individuals manage their emotions during or after emotional events. However the current study examined how anticipatory emotion regulation behavior, a process that occurs before an emotional event has been experienced, influenced young (Mage = 19.66) and older (M...
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An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
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We present a consensus-based checklist to improve and document the transparency of research reports in social and behavioural research. An accompanying online application allows users to complete the form and generate a report that they can submit with their manuscript or post to a public repository.
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Scientists from many disciplines have recently suggested changes in research practices, with the goal of ensuring greater scientific integrity. Some suggestions have focused on reducing researcher degrees of freedom to extract significant findings from exploratory analyses, whereas others concern how best to power studies and analyze results. Yet o...
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One big push in open science is to change journal practices to encourage a more transparent and replicable scientific record. I will start by considering why these issues are important from the perspective of a journal editor. The Transparency and Openness Promotion Guidelines were developed as a modular way for journals to encourage and/or require...
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Situation selection is a form of activity selection focused on the affective tone of potential choices. We investigated this type of emotional activity selection in everyday life during a longitudinal multi-burst study of middle-aged and older adults. In each burst, participants were asked to complete six phone-based assessments per day across five...
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Older adults attend to more positive than negative content compared to younger adults; this “age-related positivity” effect is often thought of as a way older adults may be regulating their moods. However, attentional disengagement abilities decline with age, which may make positive looking more challenging for older adults in some cases. To evalua...
Article
Models of aging and emotion hypothesize age differences in emotion regulation-in frequency, use of strategies, and/or effectiveness-but research to date has been mixed. In the current experience sampling study, younger, middle-aged, and older adults (N = 149), were prompted 5 times a day for 10 days to report on both general strategies (e.g., situa...
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In response to concerns about the replicability of published research, some disciplines have used open science practices to try to enhance the credibility of published findings. Gerontology has been slow to embrace these changes. We argue that open science is important for aging research, both to reduce questionable research practices that may also...
Article
Theories of emotional aging have proposed that age differences in emotion regulation may partly explain why older adults report high levels of emotional well-being despite declines in other domains. The current research examined age differences and similarities in emotion regulatory tactic preferences across 5 laboratory tasks designed to measure t...
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The ending effect describes the phenomenon that individuals are more risk-taking during the final round of a series of risky decision tasks. Previous research suggests that the ending effect might be caused by a motivational shift induced by changes in time perception. However, none of the existing research directly tested the motivational state im...
Chapter
The aim of this chapter is to review recent literature describing how developments in cognition may contribute to age-related changes in emotional processes, specifically emotion regulation and emotion perception. In general, older adults are more likely than young adults to report feeling positive. Prominent conceptual models of cognitive and emot...
Article
Interpersonal accuracy refers to the ability to make accurate perceptions about others’ social and emotional qualities. Despite this broad definition, the measurement of interpersonal accuracy remains narrow, as most studies focus on the accurate perception of others’ emotional states. Moreover, previous research has relied primarily upon tradition...
Article
Objectives: Cognitive reappraisal is an emotion regulation strategy that involves the adaptive restructuring of one's thoughts surrounding an emotionally evocative stimulus. Previous studies have produced mixed results on how distinct reappraisal and attentional processes are, but few studies have teased apart specific reappraisal methods. This is...
Article
Part 3 of this ‘How to Publish’ symposium will be a break-out session with round table discussions. Participants will include editors-in chief from the following journals: Journals of Gerontology-Series A: Medical Sciences; Journals of Gerontology-Series B: Psychological and Social Sciences; The Gerontologist, and Innovation in Aging. Participants...
Article
This paper examines whether younger and older employees differ in their emotional and behavioral reactions to conflicts occurring in the workplace. A total of 144 Chinese employees (Mage=40.2, SD=12.4; 53.5% females) took part in an experimental study conducted in the Psychology Laboratories. Four short videos depicting hypothetical workplace confl...
Article
With increases in life expectancy, many people can expect to spend one quarter or even one third of their life in old age. Yet, although preparation for retirement has become increasingly common, preparation for old age, in areas such as housing and care, leisure activities, social relationships, finance, and death and dying, is less well understoo...
Article
The present study investigated whether manipulating emotional goal priority within a series of divided attention tasks influenced the presence or absence of age-related positive gaze preferences. Across two experiments, participants viewed image pairs while performing an auditory version of a 3-back n-back task. In Experiment 1, four conditions wer...
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Studies on socioemotional selectivity theory have found that compared with younger adults, older adults are more likely to (a) prefer to interact with emotionally close social partners and (b) show preferential cognitive processing of positive relative to negative stimuli. To integrate these 2 lines of findings, this study examined attention toward...
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Prior studies have found mixed results regarding whether there are cultural differences in the age-related positivity effect, defined as older adults showing a greater bias in cognitive processing for positively over negatively and neutrally valenced information relative to younger adults. This study attempted to address this controversy by examini...
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The present study examined the power of endings on risky decision making. With four experiments, the changes in the individuals’ risk-taking tendencies were examined as the end of an investment decision task approached; the role of motivational shift toward emotional satisfaction in the ending effect was also explored. As predicted, participants wh...
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Background: Bipolar disorder is associated with heightened and persistent positive emotion (Gruber in Curr Dir Psychol Sci 20:217-221, 2011; Johnson in Clin Psychol Rev 25:241-262, 2005). Yet little is known about information processing biases that may influence these patterns of emotion responding. Methods: The current study adopted eye-trackin...
Article
Research on age differences in media usage has shown that older adults are more likely than younger adults to select positive emotional content. Research on emotional aging has examined whether older adults also seek out positivity in the everyday situations they choose, resulting so far in mixed results. We investigated the emotional choices of di...
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Life span emotional development theories propose age differences in emotion regulation tendencies and abilities. Research on age-related positivity has identified age differences in attention to emotional content, which may support emotion regulation in older age. The current research examines the roles of age and attention under various emotion re...
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Older adults tend to perform worse on emotion perception tasks compared to younger adults. How this age difference relates to other interpersonal perception tasks and conversation ability remains an open question. In the present study, we assessed 32 younger and 30 older adults’ accuracy when perceiving (1) static facial expressions, (2) emotions,...
Article
Previous studies of attentional deployment to a single stream of experimenter-selected affective stimuli have found that compared to younger adults, older adults attend relatively more to positive and less to negative stimuli, and this can relate to better mood for them. Past studies of situation selection have yielded a contrasting picture of age...
Article
Objectives: Age shifts in emotion regulation may be rooted in beliefs about different strategies. We test whether there are age differences in the beliefs people hold about specific emotion regulation strategies (derived from the process model of emotion regulation: Gross, 1998) and whether profiles of emotion beliefs vary by age. Method: An adu...
Article
Objectives: Despite a proliferation of research in interpersonal perception and aging, no research has identified the nature of the social and emotional perceptions made by aging individuals in everyday life. In this study, we aimed to identify the social ecological features that characterize everyday interpersonal perception across the adult life...
Article
Older adults have greater difficulty than younger adults perceiving vocal emotions. To better characterise this effect, we explored its relation to age differences in sensory, cognitive and emotional functioning. Additionally, we examined the role of speaker age and listener sex. Participants (N = 163) aged 19–34 years and 60–85 years categorised n...
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The ability to recognize emotions from others’ nonverbal behavior (emotion recognition ability, ERA) is crucial to successful social functioning. However, currently no self-administered ERA training for non-clinical adults covering multiple sensory channels exists. We conducted four studies in a lifespan sample of participants in the laboratory and...
Article
Situation selection – choosing to enter or avoid situations based on how they will likely make you feel – is theorized to be a useful emotion regulation strategy, especially in older age. However, research on the use of situation selection for emotion regulation is limited, and the existing findings about age differences are mixed, with some studie...
Preprint
Despite the importance of emotion regulation (ER) to physical and psychological health, little is known about the resources that contribute to ER success. In two studies, we tested the hypothesis that affective forecasting, or the ability to predict how situations will make one feel, would be associated with situation selection, an ER strategy in w...
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Prominent life span theories of emotion propose that older adults attend less to negative emotional information and report less negative emotional reactions to the same information than younger adults do. Although parallel age differences in affective information processing and age differences in emotional reactivity have been proposed, they have r...
Article
The current study reports the first investigation of age-related changes in emotional coherence across multiple response systems (experiential, physiological, and expressive) in sadness reactivity and regulation. Some accounts indirectly suggest that blunted physiological responses to emotional stimuli (e.g., Mendes, 2010) may lead to an age-relate...
Article
Whereas some theories suggest that emotion-related processes become more positive with age, recent empirical findings on affective experience, emotion regulation, and emotion perception depict a more nuanced picture. Though there is some evidence for positive age trajectories in affective experience, results are mixed for emotion regulation and lar...
Article
The authors provide a review of selected laboratory research on age differences in emotional functioning. The authors propose that this research area would benefit from an ecological approach in which the immediate context of emotional functioning is more explicitly considered. More specifically, to date many laboratory studies have used stimuli an...
Article
A large body of research has investigated age differences in the ability to accurately perceive emotional expressions on faces. This work has generally found consistent age-related declines in such emotion perception abilities, though it has been limited by the particular paradigm most commonly used: a participant sits in front of a computer and ma...
Article
Previous literature have found positivity effects in age-related cognition, such that with age, people show increased preference in processing positive stimuli relative to negative or neutral stimuli. Yet, in cross-cultural studies the findings are mixed. This study utilized eye-tracking techniques to record visual fixation towards emotional inform...
Article
Older adults have been shown to be more biased towards context in visual attention. In emotion perception, contextual attention to incongruent context can lead to inaccurate labelling of target facial expressions. However, older adults, due to cognitive and social factors, have also been shown to display more stereotyping behaviors. If the target o...
Article
In this study, 59 younger (aged from 18 to 24) and 66 older participants (aged from 58 to 84) were presented with different emotional expressions (happy, sad, and angry), and the closeness of the facial stimuli was manipulated by telling participants that the targets shared many (little) similarities with them. Participants’ values on eudaimonic (h...
Article
Previous studies have found that older adults attend relatively more to positive and less to negative stimuli when presented with a single stream of affective input. In everyday life, however, attentional deployment is fundamentally and dynamically related to an earlier stage of emotion regulation: situation selection. We present 2 studies using mo...
Chapter
The mind is selective in what it attends to in the environment. In this chapter, we describe potential implications of selective attention for emotional experience and well-being across the lifespan. We review theory and evidence examining the relationship between attention and well-being, first considering descriptive research that investigates re...
Article
Studies of age differences in affective experience tend to report positive age trends. Studies of attentional deployment also tend to find older individuals attending more to positive and less to negative stimuli. However, everyday entertainment choices seem to vary by age more in terms of meaningfulness and value than by valence. Relatively few ag...
Article
Objective: The current study used a research domain criteria (RDoC) approach to assess age differences in multiple indicators of attention bias and its ties to anxiety, examining stimulus domain and cognitive control as moderators of older adults' oft-cited positivity effect (bias towards positive and away from negative stimuli, when compared to y...
Article
Older adults tend to have lower emotion-perception accuracy compared to younger adults. Previous studies have centered on individual characteristics, including cognitive decline and positive attentional preferences, as possible mechanisms underlying these age differences in emotion perception; however, thus far, no perceiver-focused factor has acco...
Article
There currently appears to be a general consensus on the relationship between time perspective and aging, such that (a) future time is perceived as more limited with age and (b) older people are more present-focused and less future-focused than younger people. At the same time, there are debates about whether these age differences are positively re...
Conference Paper
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Discovering users' behavior via eye-tracking data analysis is a common task that has important implications in many domains including marketing, design, behavior study, and psychology. In our project, we are interested in analyzing eye-tracking data to investigate differences between age groups in emotion regulation using visual attention. To achie...
Article
Older adults are theorized to benefit from proactive forms of emotion regulation that allow them to avoid negative stimuli. To test this, we examined choices as a form of emotion regulation. In two studies investigating age differences, participants selected affective stimuli using a cable television interface, while choices and mood were recorded....
Article
In this study, we investigated age differences in situation selection to understand the role stimulus arousal plays in motivating age differences in this type of emotion regulation. Participants freely selected from a set of affective videos using information about the valence and arousal of each stimulus. There were age differences both in the val...
Article
This article addresses emotion and cognition by first introducing basic models where emotions are thought to be discrete entities (e.g., anger, sadness, happiness). Appraisal theories of emotion are introduced next, including psychological construction approaches, where emotions are classified as emerging from specific ingredients of the mind, and...
Chapter
Unlike the age-related decline suggested in areas such as cognition, emotion-related processes appear to show some areas of age-related improvement, some of stability, and some of decline. Three major topics of research on emotion and aging are reviewed: emotional experience, emotion regulation, and emotion perception. After considering descriptive...
Conference Paper
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Developing believable virtual characters has been a subject of research in many fields including graphics, animations, artificial intelligence, and human-computer interaction. One challenge towards commoditizing the use of virtual humans is the ability to algorithmically construct characters of different stereotypes. In this paper, we present our e...
Article
This research investigated age differences in use and effectiveness of situation selection and situation modification for emotion regulation. Socioemotional selectivity theory suggests stronger emotional well-being goals in older age; emotion regulation may support this goal. Younger and older adults assigned to an emotion regulation or “just view”...
Article
Despite many studies on the age-related positivity effect and its role in visual attention, discrepancies remain regarding whether full attention is required for age-related differences to emerge. The present study took a new approach to this question by varying the contextual demands of emotion processing. This was done by adding perceptual distra...
Article
Traditional emotion perception tasks show that older adults are less accurate than are young adults at recognizing facial expressions of emotion. Recently, we proposed that socioemotional factors might explain why older adults seem impaired in lab tasks but less so in everyday life (Isaacowitz & Stanley, 2011). Thus, in the present research we empi...
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Although context is crucial to emotion perception, there are various factors that can modulate contextual influence. The current research investigated how cue type, top-down control, and the perceiver's age influence attention to context in facial emotion perception. In 2 experiments, younger and older adults identified facial expressions contextua...
Article
In this commentary, we consider how Balcetis’s proposals may interface with the study of motivation and emotion in lifespan developmental psychology, pointing to open questions regarding the distance perception of long-term chronic goals as well as age-related shifts from informational to emotional goals.
Article
Although age-related deficits in emotion perception have been established using photographs of individuals, the extension of these findings to dynamic displays and dyads is just beginning. Similarly, most eye-tracking research in the person perception literature, including those that study age differences, have focused on individual attributes glea...
Article
Two studies are reported representing the first use of mobile eye tracking to study emotion regulation across adulthood. Past research on age differences in attentional deployment using stationary eye tracking has revealed older adults show relatively more positive looking and seem to benefit more moodwise from this looking pattern, compared with y...
Article
The present study aims at examining culture differences in holistic thinking across younger and older adults. Ninety-four participants from Hong Kong, China and ninety participants from Boston, USA were assessed on two measures of holistic thinking: (1) a self-reported dialectical self scale; and (2) the framed line task. Although both measures sho...
Article
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Despite the pervasiveness of social perception in everyday life, relatively little is known about how the way we see ourselves and other people changes with age. The central questions to consider are if and how the perceiver's age and the perceived person's age affect fundamental processes of social perception. The current collection of 9 articles...
Article
Identifying social gaffes is important for maintaining relationships. Older adults are less able than young to discriminate between socially appropriate and inappropriate behavior in video clips. One open question is how these social appropriateness ratings relate to potential age differences in the perception of what is actually funny or not. In t...