The HEART Lab
Our lab group examines how individuals develop the abilities to regulate emotional experiences and cope with daily stressors and how these skills can be harnessed to promote healthy and successful aging.
The Health, Emotion, and Aging Research Team is supervised by Dr. Gloria Luong. The HEART also investigates how socioemotional development varies across diverse cultural and environmental contexts and its implications for health and well-being. We use a variety of techniques to understand the inter-relations between health, emotion, and aging processes, including laboratory paradigms, psychophysiological assessments (e.g., cardiovascular reactivity), and experience sampling methodology.
HEART Research Current Research Projects
Health and Daily Experiences Study
Do our daily experiences predict health and well-being? Many studies focus on understanding how major life events may influence health processes but everyday experiences, both pleasant and unpleasant, may also contribute to our long-term health. This study involves sampling everyday experiences and health and well-being in our participants across the course of a week. We are currently recruiting participants for this study who are between 18-35 years of age or 60+ years old and who identify as European American or LatinX/Hispanic. If you are interested in participating in this study, please email us. This study is supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging (K01 AG056660; PI: G. Luong)
Compassionate Community Actively Living Mindfulness Study
In collaboration with Dr. Doug Coatsworth and Columbine Health Systems, our research team is investigating how mindfulness and contemplative practices (e.g., yoga, tai chi, meditation) may be linked to changes in physical health and psychosocial functioning among a system of older adults, their family caregivers, and healthcare staff. Participants in this study will respond to questionnaires repeatedly over the course of several months. We may also track physical activity and daily experiences of a subset of participants. If you would like to learn more about this study (including how to participate), please email us. This study is supported by the Colorado Clinical Translational Sciences Institute (PIs: D. Coatsworth & Y. Myers; Co-PIs: G. Luong & S. Merrell).
Relocation and Transitional Experiences Study
We are interested in understanding how major life events, such as moving into senior care housing (such as independent living, assisted living, or skilled nursing facilities) may be related to health and well-being. We are currently recruiting individuals who are planning to move into any type of senior care housing into our study. To participate, please email us us. This study is supported by the John Templeton Foundation, Pathways to Character Initiative (Award No. 60699, PI: G. Luong, Co-PI: D. Coatsworth)
Daily Experiences and Well-Being Study
In collaboration with Principal Investigator, Karen Fingerman, as well as Kira Birditt and Susan Charles, this project examines social relationships and daily social interactions and their links to health and well-being in an older adult sample. This project is supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging (R01 AG046460; PI: K. Fingerman).
Negative Affect Valuation
Don’t worry, be happy. Turn that frown upside down. Everyday idioms and commonsense wisdom suggest that in order to achieve high levels of happiness, well-being, and health, we should minimize negative affect and maximize positive affect. These recommendations, however, may be unreasonable under all circumstances. Indeed, this perspective ignores the fact that at times, negative emotional states can be functional and adaptive and that individuals differ in the degree to which they may see the value and utility of such emotions. Our research has shown that individuals who place relatively greater value on negative affective experiences actually exhibit weakened (and sometimes even non-existent) associations between negative affect and poorer health and well-being. These findings suggest that negative affect is not for all individuals and under all circumstances, indicative of a diminished quality of life. We are currently conducting research examining the mechanisms underlying these affect-health links. This study was supported by the Max Planck Society.
Socioemotional Development and Health Study
How do responses to difficult social interactions change across adulthood? In this study, we investigated how younger and older adults differ in their behavioral, emotional, and physiological (e.g., heart rate, blood pressure) responses to social conflict (i.e., arguments and disagreements). Our results suggest that the ability to control emotions, especially during negative social situations, may improve with age. This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging grants R01AG023845 (PI: S. Charles) and F31 AG038283 (PI: G. Luong), American Psychological Association, American Psychological Foundation/Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology (COGDOP) Graduate Student Research Scholarship, and K. Alison Clarke-Stewart Dissertation Award (awarded to G. Luong)