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The Best Years of Your Life

Hidden Brain

Hidden Brain Media

Science, Arts, Social Sciences, Performing Arts

4.639.3K Ratings

🗓️ 26 June 2023

⏱️ 51 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


Aging isn’t just a biological process. Our outlooks and emotions also change as we age, often in ways that boost our well-being. Psychologist Laura Carstensen unpacks the science behind this surprising finding, and shares what all of us can learn from older people.

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This is Hidden Brain. I'm Shankar Vedantam. In one of the movie versions of the Oscar Wilde novel,


the picture of Dorian Gray, the actor Heard Hatfield stares longingly at a painting of himself. The picture shows a young man bursting with health and vitality. As Dorian


Gray reflects on how he is going to change with age while his picture will stay the same.


A strange wish passes through his head.


If only the picture could change, and I could be always what I am now.


For that I would give everything. There's nothing in the whole world I would not give. I would give my soul for that.


In the story, Dorian Gray makes a pact with a devil. The painting starts to age in his place.


The physical degradation of the picture isn't only about the passing years, the picture takes on the corruption of the


characters many misdeeds.


Meanwhile, Dorian Gray himself stays eternally youthful. Oscar Wilde wrote the story in the late 19th century.


The movie came out in the middle of the 20th century. The 21st century is not that different in its preoccupations from its predecessors.


Movies, TV shows, and the fashion industry still worship at the altar of youth.


People around the world spend billions of dollars on potions and injections and surgical interventions


to keep the signs of age at bay.


ClickBate ads on many websites show you what the youthful stars of yester years


look like today. The message couldn't be clearer.


Aging is a terrible thing.


Growing old is a horror show.


This week on Hidden Brain, astonishing new research about aging that could change the way everyone thinks about life. If you don't know what it feels like to be tall.


If you're white, you won't know what it's like to be black.


Lots of aspects of identity are like this. They are fixed. But there is one form of identity that is


certain to change with time. Young people today will become old people tomorrow.


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