Becca Levy

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Becca R. Levy is an associate professor of epidemiology and social psychology at Yale University. She is a leading researcher in the fields of social gerontology and psychology of aging. She has conducted foundational research on how self-stereotypes operate and how older individuals are influenced by and can influence their societies.

Career[edit]

Levy was born in Atlanta, GA. She studied psychology and Near Eastern studies at the University of Michigan. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard University. She trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School in the Division on aging and Department of Social Medicine. Afterward she started teaching as an assistant professor at Yale School of Public Health.

Levy’s primary research interests lie in examining the psycho-social influences of aging on individual health and well-being. In particular, her work has focused on elucidating the mechanisms by which self perceptions of aging and age stereotypes impact both cognitive and physical health. In a seminal series of studies, Levy for the first time established causal links between age stereotypes held by individuals and a number of outcomes previously unknown to be affected by such stereotypes including: memory, cardiac reactivity to stress, and even longevity.[1][2][3] Subsequently, this body of research has come to form the basis for Levy’s Stereotype Embodiment Theory (SET).[4]

Since the beginning of her career, Levy has contributed over 70 articles and chapters to leading psychological, gerontological, and medical journals and books. As an expert in the field of health and aging, her research has been featured on the front page of the New York Times;[5] and she was invited by the U.S. Senate to give testimony before the Special Committee on Aging regarding the harmful impact of ageism in popular media and marketing.

Awards[edit]

  • Scholar Award for Research Related to Disadvantaged Older Adults (Gerontological Society of America and Senior Service America)
  • Margret M. Baltes Award for Outstanding Early Career Achievement in Social and Behavioral Gerontology (Margret M. and Paul Baltes Foundation and the Gerontological Society of America)
  • Springer Award for Early Career Achievement in Research on Adult Development and Aging (American Psychological Association)
  • Brookdale National Fellowship for Leadership in Aging (Brookdale Foundation)
  • International Mensa Foundation New Investigator Award for Excellence in Research
  • Gordon W. Allport Award (Harvard University)

Selected publications[edit]

  • Levy, B. R., Pilver, C., Chung, P. H., & Slade, M .D. (2014). Subliminal strengthening: Improving older individuals’ physical function over time with an implicit-age-stereotype intervention. Psychological Science.
  • Levy, B. R., Pilver, C. E., Pietrzak, R. H. (2014). Lower prevalence of psychiatric conditions when negative age stereotypes are resisted. Social Science & Medicine, 119, 170-174.
  • Levy, B. R., Slade, M. D., Chung, P. H., Gill, T. M. (2014). Resiliency over time of elders' age stereotypes after encountering stressful events. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences
  • Levy, B. R., Slade, M. D., Murphy, T. E., & Gill, T. M. (2012). Association between positive age stereotypes and recovery from disability in older persons. Journal of the American Medical Association, 308, 1972-1973.
  • Levy, B. R., Zonderman, A. B., Slade, M. D., & Ferrucci, L. (2012). Memory shaped by age stereotypes over time. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 67, 432-436.
  • Levy, B. R. (2009). Stereotype embodiment: A psychosocial approach to aging. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 18, 332-336.
  • Levy, B. R. & Leifheit-Limson, E. (2009). The stereotype-matching effect: Greater influence on functioning when age stereotypes correspond to outcomes. Psychology and Aging, 24, 230-233.
  • Levy, B. R., Zonderman, A., Slade, M. D., Ferrucci, L. (2009). Negative age stereotypes held earlier in life predict cardiovascular events in later life. Psychological Science, 20, 296-8.
  • Levy, B. R., Ashman, O., & Slade, M. D. (2009). Age attributions and aging health: Contrast between the United States and Japan. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 64, 335-338.
  • Levy, B., Kosteas, J., Slade, M., & Myers, L. Exclusion of elderly persons from health-risk-behavior clinical trials. Preventive Medicine, 2006, 43: 80-85.
  • Levy, B. R. (2003). Mind matters: Cognitive and physical effects of aging self-stereotypes. (New Directions in Aging Research.) Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 58, 203-211.
  • Levy, B. R., Slade, M., & Kasl, S. (2002). Longitudinal benefit of positive self-perceptions of aging on functioning health. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Science, 57, 409-417.
  • Levy, B. R., Slade, M., Kunkel, S., & Kasl, S. (2002). Longevity increased by positive self-perceptions of aging. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 261-270.
  • Levy, B., Hausdorff, J., Hencke, R., & Wei, J. (2000). Reducing cardiovascular stress with positive self-stereotypes of aging. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 55, 1-9.
  • Levy, B. (1996). Improving memory in old age by implicit self-stereotyping. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 1092-1107.
  • Levy, B., & Langer, E. (1994). Aging free from negative stereotypes: Successful memory among the American Deaf and in China. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 935-943.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Levy, B. (1996). Improving memory in old age by implicit self-stereotyping. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 1092-1107.
  2. ^ Levy, B., Hausdorff, J., Hencke, R., & Wei, J. Y. (2000). Reducing cardiovascular stress with positive self-stereotypes of aging. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 55B, P205-P213.
  3. ^ Levy, B., Slade M. D., & Kasl, S. V. (2002). Increased longevity by positive self-perceptions of aging. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 83, 261-270.
  4. ^ Levy, B. (2009). Stereotype embodiment: A psychological approach to aging. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 18, 332-336.
  5. ^ In ‘Sweetie’ and ‘Dear,’ a hurt for the elderly. (2008, October 6). The New York Times.

External links[edit]