Negative caricatures of aging are far too prevalent in our culture -- and they are harmful. Simply telling people to think positively about aging doesn't work, because the mind is very good at thwarting such explicit lessons. There may, however, be a more subtle way to mitigate the deleterious effects of such caricatures.
Maybe there is some risk in overzealously documenting our lives. There are certainly times to put that camera away and join in the fun. But these findings suggest that there may also be risk in failing to create mementos. The seemingly dull and quotidian details of our everyday lives may be the emotional treasures of the future.
Psychological scientists are very interested in the dynamics of future planning, in part because people are so bad at it. There is circumstantial evidence that people who are financially irresponsible also take poor care of themselves. Is it possible that a single underlying trait is shaping behaviors that promote both health and wealth?
In the '90s, in the midst of the so-called culture wars, dueling miscellanies represented a fundamental and acrimonious division over how to raise the next generation of American citizens. Lost in the bickering was a much more basic question: Can we really transmit a moral code to our children through the use of stories?
One line of criticism holds that the DSM focuses too much on superficial symptoms of mental disorders, ignoring underlying dynamics. Instead of focusing on and naming clinical syndromes, critics say, the manual (and the field) ought to target the specific, disordered cognitive processes that underlie labels.