Productive Social Engagement as a Vehicle to Promote Activity and Neuro-Cognitive Health in Later Adulthood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: We have witnessed two key findings that shift our understanding of human brain aging in new directions. First, we learned that the adult brain remains plastic beyond childhood development, generating new neurons in response to activity and new experiences, particularly in regions that integrate memories in social contexts. The second emerging finding is the importance of physical activity and social engagement to cognitive aging. I integrate these and other empirical findings with our understanding of brain development over the life span and the later-life developmental need to give back to younger generations to posit the importance of maintaining our “social” brain through retirement and into later life when activity remains beneficial to brain health. Conclusions: Opportunities for improved cognitive and brain health that can be brought to scale need to capitalize on aging adults’ need to remain socially relevant and on community infrastructures so that those with lower neighborhood access to activity can safely engage. Evidence is summarized here from one such community-based model of social engagement through school-based, volunteer service, entitled Experience Corps®. This program seeks to increase daily physical, cognitive, and social activity to promote cognitive and mental health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1274-1278
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Clinical Neuropsychology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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