Brian Carpenter

Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences

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Carpenter conducts research on the clinical psychology of aging. His research focuses on family relationships in late life, with a particular emphasis on collaborative family communication and decision-making. Other research activities focus on older patient-physician interactions, knowledge about Alzheimer’s disease, and mental health issues at the end of life.

WashU in the News


WashU Expert: Five holiday talking points for families facing aging, end-of-life decisions

WashU Expert: Five holiday talking points for families facing aging, end-of-life decisions

Few things are as certain as the end of life, so why is it so hard to talk about? That’s a question that many families will be grappling with over the holidays. And while it’s easy to put off dark discussions during festive times, it’s best to have them sooner than later, says Brian Carpenter, a psychologist who studies family relations in later life at Washington University in St. Louis.

When I’m 64: Imagining the future of aging

Today’s freshmen students have a 50 percent chance of living to see their 100th birthdays. They are in the middle of a demographic revolution that will shape every aspect of their lives. A new interdisciplinary course for freshmen introduced this fall, “When I’m Sixty-Four: Transforming Your Future,” aims to prepare students for this aging revolution and to encourage them to examine their present and future lives in more detail.

Dementia diagnosis brings relief, not depression

Emotional concerns are a serious consideration with the diagnosis of dementia.When it comes to a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, what you don’t know may not kill you, but knowing the truth as soon as possible appears to be the better approach — one that may improve the emotional well-being of both patients and their caregivers, suggests new research from Washington University in St. Louis.

Researchers find older folks don’t get the joke

It’s no laughing matter that older adults have a tougher time understanding basic jokes than do younger adults. It’s partially due to a cognitive decline associated with age, according to Washington University in St. Louis researchers Wingyun Mak, a graduate student in psychology in Arts & Sciences, and Brian Carpenter, Ph.D., Washington University associate professor of psychology.