Director of UF's Life Story Lab
Dr. Susan Bluck obtained her PhD from the School of Social Ecology at the University of California, Irvine, and completed her post-doctoral work at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany. She is a faculty member in the Psychology Department at the University of Florida and Director of the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology. Dr. Bluck’s current research focuses on social cognition across the adult lifespan, particularly how people remember and tell stories about their own life events, especially in later life.
She runs an active laboratory in collaboration with her team of graduate and undergraduate students, investigating lifespan differences and continuities in (i) the everyday functions of autobiographical memory, reminiscence, and the life story. Dr. Bluck has received several awards for her research including the Springer Early Career Achievement Award for Research in Adult Development and Aging, and is currently the UF Colonel Alan R. and Margaret G. Crow Professor. She is involved in several international collaborations with colleagues in Trinidad, Taiwan, Austria and Switzerland. Dr. Bluck’s theoretical and empirical work has appeared in such journals as Psychology and Aging, The Gerontologist, and Psychological Bulletin. She has acted as Associate Editor for Applied Cognitive Psychology, and is the Editor of volumes for the Review of General Psychology, and Memory. Dr. Bluck is also an educator: she teaches graduate and undergraduate classes including such courses as Issues and Concepts in Gerontology, Autobiographical Memory across the Lifespan, and Death and Dying. She has been recognized for her mentoring and teaching, receiving the American Psychological Association’s (Div. 20) Mentoring Award.
Session Title: The End: Death as Part of the Life Story
Description: We all have our own unique life story. This session focuses on a particular aspect of our life story: the end. The audience is invited to consider two central ways in which the end of the story is important: (i) our loved one’s endings become part of our continuing life story, and (ii) we all face the end – we all die. The fact that humans know that their story will one day end may affect what they do and the stories they tell themselves and others well before their own ‘time is up.’ Research findings, including stories collected in the UF Life Story Lab, are presented to illustrate the importance of death as part of each person’s life story.