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We shape our aging in ways we find meaningful

Mood Disorders Centre Think Tank Seminar Series

Our guest speaker is Prof Helene Fung from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Prof Helene Fung is the Chairperson of the Department of Psychology and the Executive Director of the Centre for Positive Social Science at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She is a globally renowned researcher in the psychology of aging and was listed among the World’s Top 2% Scientists by Stanford University in 2021.

Event details


Abstract: Old age has traditionally been perceived as a time of declines and losses. Yet, empirical findings from the last 20 years have shown that many of the age-related declines in social and cognitive performance can be offset by making the performance self-relevant and/or emotionally rewarding. In this talk, I will present findings from studies on social relationships, attention, memory, emotion and problem solving, across adult samples (aged 18 to 90+ years), from Hong Kong, USA, Canada and Germany, to show that that aging is not just about declines. Once older individuals find an activity or performance meaningful, they are more motivated to engage in it, attend more to it, remember it better and may eventually perform better at it. The strategies that enable older people to do so, and cross-cultural differences in these strategies, will be highlighted. Experiences in collaborating with other disciplines, such as engineering, architecture, sociology and social work, to explore ways to scale up those strategies, will be shared. Practical implications of these strategies for personal aging at the individual and interpersonal levels, and population aging at the society level, will also be discussed.


The Sir Henry Wellcome Building for Mood Disorders Research (Hybrid Seminar)