The goal of this project was to develop a community-integrative course on the Psychology of Aging. With a growing elderly population, projected to be over 20% of our population by 2040, the Psychology of Aging course is intended to help students better understand both the normal and abnormal courses of development across the lifespan and to help transform students into future community leaders with the skills to enhance the lives of our senior citizens
How do psychological processes change in later life? Why is it important to study adult development and aging? What does it mean to age “successfully”? How can we better understand the lives of elders through narrative? This course helps students answer these questions (and more!) by providing a comprehensive overview of the cognitive, neurological, social, emotional, and mental health changes associated with healthy aging, and to a lesser extent, pathological aging. The course examines research methodology and theoretical frameworks used to study aging, current issues in the field of aging, and how we can apply research on the psychology of aging to improve the lives of elders. The course also incorporates a community-integrative educational component where students interact with senior citizens in the Memphis community, allowing students to integrate course content, community engagement, and research. Students engage in an in-depth study of issues related to aging and interact weekly with older adults at our community partner site(s). These interactions are designed to provide older adults with a time to share autobiographical memories via storytelling, an activity that is fun, builds social bonds, and facilitates intergenerational communication. In addition to enhancing learning of course material, these interactions are expected to facilitate students’ personal growth and civic responsibility.
Chair of Psychology
Dr. White′s research program broadly investigates memory and language processes in young and older adults, with specific emphasis on factors that influence written and spoken word retrieval.