Late in 2002 staff of the Behavioral and Social Research Program of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) asked the National Research Council (NRC) to explore research opportunities in social psychology, personality, and adult developmental psychology in order to assist the NIA in developing a long-term research agenda in these areas. The NRC, through the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences, created the Committee on Aging Frontiers in Social Psychology, Personality, and Adult Developmental Psychology, which I had the honor of chairing, to undertake this task.

Committee members included clinical, personality, social, and life-span developmental psychologists, as well as a sociologist and an economist. Some committee members hold primary expertise in aging; others represent different but related fields. As we educated each other about the broad range of work relevant to our charge it became clear that this was an ideal mix. The committee held four meetings, at which it identified a variety of possible research opportunities and considered the promise of each. As the committee considered priorities, it invited the input of a number of other specialists in vital research areas at a committee-sponsored workshop in September 2003. This made possible an even deeper discussion of the more promising areas of opportunity. Through such consultation and private deliberation, the committee arrived at consensus in giving its recommendations to the NIA. The committee believes it has identified key areas of research in which additional investment may lead to an entirely new understanding about the health and well-being of older people.

On behalf of the committee, I would like to acknowledge the contributions of a number of people who helped us to complete our work. First, we are grateful to Richard Suzman, the sponsor of the project and associate director of the NIA. He posed provocative ideas and questions to the committee and stimulated much thoughtful discussion.

We owe special thanks to several experts from outside the committee whose input was very valuable. Prominent among these are the authors of the six papers prepared for the committee: Mara Mather, University of California at Santa Cruz; Jennifer Richeson, Northwestern University; Nicole Shelton, Princeton University; Norbert Schwarz, University of Michigan; Alexander Rothman, University of Minnesota; Randy Buckner, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Washington University in St. Louis; Jon Krosnick, Stanford University; Allyson Holbrook, University of Illinois, Chicago; and Penny Visser, University of Chicago.

We also benefited considerably from the presentations and comments at our workshop of Roger Dixon, University of Alberta; John Darley, Princeton University; Annamaria Lusardi, Dartmouth College; Marc Freedman, Civic Ventures; Claude Steele, Stanford University; Charles Carver, University of Miami; Robert Wallace, University of Iowa; William Greenough, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Dov J. Cohen, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Michael Feuerstein, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; Marjorie Bowman, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; and Lisa Berkman, Harvard University, all of whom contributed to the committee's thinking in important ways.

At the NRC, Christine R. Hartel and Tracy G. Myers served as the study directors for this project. Special thanks are due to Eugenia Grohman, who provided timely counsel and support as well as editing our manuscript with skill and insight; to Kirsten Sampson-Snyder, who managed the review process; to Amy Love Collins and Susan R. McCutchen, who assisted with research for the report; and to Jessica Gonzalez Martinez, our skilled and dedicated project assistant, who was both efficient and considerate.

I would also like to recognize the committee members for their unusually generous contributions of time and expertise and for their professionalism in completing this work. They receive only the compensation of knowing that they have done their best to provide recommendations to the NIA that could advance the field in important ways.

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the NRC. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.

We thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Marilyn S. Albert, Division of Cognitive Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University; Toni Antonucci, Institute for Social Research Life Course Development Program, University of Michigan; Karlene Ball, Center for Research on Applied Gerontology, University of Alabama at Birmingham; John T. Cacioppo, Department of Psychology, University of Chicago; Medellena (Maria) Glymour, Department of Society, Human Development, and Health, Harvard School of Public Health; Brenda Major, Department of Psychology, University of California at Santa Barbara; Matthew McGue, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota; and Phyllis Moen, Department of Sociology, University of Minnesota.

Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Lisa Berkman, Department of Society, Human Development, and Health, Harvard School of Public Health. Appointed by the NRC, she was responsible for making sure that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all reviewers' comments were considered carefully. Responsibility for the final content of this report, however, rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

Laura L. Carstensen, Chair

Committee on Aging Frontiers in Social Psychology, Personality, and Adult Developmental Psychology