Why Our Young Adults Do the Things They Do

About a decade ago, Frances Jensen’s sweet-natured 15-year-old son returned home from a friend’s house with his hair dyed black and announced he was planning to add red streaks. Jensen’s reaction was typical of countless parents who suddenly confront a stranger living in their house. “I was gobsmacked. Is this really my child?” she writes. While many of us would just start ranting, Jensen, then a Harvard Medical School neurology professor and researcher, was inspired by the incident to start …

What Old Brains? Older Proves Wiser in Financial Decisions

Old, schmold. Our brains may be getting a little slower as we age, but we more than make up for it in experience when making economic decisions, a new study finds. The study, by researchers at the University of California, Riverside and Columbia University, tested two groups of subjects – 173 younger (ages 18 to 29) and 163 older (ages 60 to 82) – on how well they understood financial information and made economic decisions. Related: Does My Financial Adviser …

Five Steps to Avoid Acting in Haste and Repenting in Leisure

Speed and efficiency have become key values for us. We expect an instant response when we flip a light switch or download a movie on television. We anticipate immediate acceleration when we put our foot on the gas and a reverse but equal response when we brake. We are a nation of fast-food lovers. Computer-mediated communication, whether by email, text messages or phone, allows us to be in touch with anyone on the globe within seconds. Life in the high-speed …

Brain Fitness: Four Strategies to Keep Your Wits with Aging

However magnificent one’s earlier accomplishments, getting older can be a humbling experience. Loss of peripheral vision and depth judgment, lessened hearing acuity, decreased sensitivity of taste buds, stiffened arteries, declining bone density, a less efficient heart pump, reduced lung capacity, wrinkling of skin, reduced muscle strength and, for some, loss of hair are a few of the physical changes that are biologically predetermined. The aging process also brings social and emotional losses. As we age, parents and older relatives die, …