Sidney Callahan


Healing from the Death of Loved Ones

This winter, three good friends and four admired colleagues died. As my generation winks out, there is plenty of time at funerals to think about grief and comforting the brokenhearted. It isn’t easy. When death cuts down a life intertwined with mine, I’m depleted. Waves of pain and powerlessness wash over me and weigh me […]

Old Age and Autobiographical Memory

Encountering new research on autobiographical memory is always unsettling. Even if you avoid the frightening findings on Alzheimer’s and other pathological conditions, the unreliability and difficulty of aging memory are humbling. All of the errors of recall that beset the young become more pronounced in the old. A well written and authoritative description of the […]

Does Self-Deceit Increase Happiness in Old Age?

Do old people have a “positivity bias” so that they self-deceptively ignore negative information?  Yes, says evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers in his provocative book, The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life. Trivers tells us that preliminary experiments show older adults preferring positive faces, ignoring negative stimuli and generally focusing […]