This book describes psychological theory and research about aging from a developmental perspective. This may seem an unusual way of approaching a subject more commonly associated with physical and mental decline, but if so this is because we have adopted Western culture’s exaggeratedly negative stance towards what it is like to grow old. Especially now that aging has become such a common experience we need to look at it afresh, and with eyes widened by new considerations of the benefits and potentials of the gift of a long life. Even though it can be defined precisely in biological terms, aging is also from another perspective a social construction. How we perceive age varies from culture to culture and from one historical period to another.