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Age Differences in Self-Continuity: Converging Evidence and Directions for Future Research


Löckenhoff, Corinna E; Rutt, Joshua L (2017). Age Differences in Self-Continuity: Converging Evidence and Directions for Future Research. The Gerontologist, 57(3):396-408.

Abstract

Life-span development is inherently linked to the perception of time and associated temporal construals. Such concepts are multi-faceted in nature and have important practical implications in areas such as time management, financial planning, or medical choices. A large body of research has documented age-related limitations in global time horizons, but age differences in other aspects of temporal construal are comparatively poorly understood. The present article draws attention to developmental trajectories of self-continuity, defined as perceived associations of one's present self with past and future selves. After considering historical roots and contemporary views on self-continuity, we turn to the life-span developmental literature and review several convergent streams of research that provide indirect evidence for age-related increases in self-continuity. We then consider a small body of recent studies which have directly assessed age differences in self-continuity and summarize our current understanding of this phenomenon including associations between explicit and implicit measures, symmetry between past and future self-continuity, and differentiation from other aspects of time perception. We conclude by highlighting open theoretical questions and considering the practical implications of an increased sense of self-continuity with advancing age.

Abstract

Life-span development is inherently linked to the perception of time and associated temporal construals. Such concepts are multi-faceted in nature and have important practical implications in areas such as time management, financial planning, or medical choices. A large body of research has documented age-related limitations in global time horizons, but age differences in other aspects of temporal construal are comparatively poorly understood. The present article draws attention to developmental trajectories of self-continuity, defined as perceived associations of one's present self with past and future selves. After considering historical roots and contemporary views on self-continuity, we turn to the life-span developmental literature and review several convergent streams of research that provide indirect evidence for age-related increases in self-continuity. We then consider a small body of recent studies which have directly assessed age differences in self-continuity and summarize our current understanding of this phenomenon including associations between explicit and implicit measures, symmetry between past and future self-continuity, and differentiation from other aspects of time perception. We conclude by highlighting open theoretical questions and considering the practical implications of an increased sense of self-continuity with advancing age.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:1 June 2017
Deposited On:17 Jan 2018 09:59
Last Modified:19 Feb 2018 10:30
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0016-9013
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnx010
PubMed ID:28520940

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