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The long age of learning

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Brain and Learning Sciences

The long age of learning

Laura Carstensen explains why education matters for aging well.

Thanks in part to sanitation workers and physicians, people today will far outlive their counterparts of centuries past. But what will the quality of life be like during those extra decades? 

The answer to that question has huge implications for education, says Laura Carstensen, the Fairleigh S. Dickinson Jr. Professor in Public Policy and a professor of psychology at Stanford. 

“In this era of very, very long life, learning is going to have to be continuous,” said Carstensen, also the founding director of the Stanford Center on Longevity. “One of the skills I think we need to begin to teach children is how to not only learn something, but then how to unlearn it and learn something new.”

On this episode of School’s In, Carstensen joins Stanford Graduate School of Education Dean Dan Schwartz and guest host Marily Oppezzo to talk about how people’s relationship with learning changes as they age (or why grandpa still can’t figure out texting), and the importance of education and exercise on decreasing the likelihood of getting diseases. 

Even without the threat of disease, she says, aging can cause problems when it comes to remembering things like sources of information, which could lead to the spread of fake news. 

“There are changes that occur with age that are unwelcome, and we should be concerned about finding ways to address them,” Carstensen said.

You can listen to School's In on SiriusXM Insight channel 121, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Soundcloud.

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