Becca Levy PhD

Associate Professor of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases) and of Psychology; Director, Social and Behavioral Sciences Division

Research Interests

Psychosocial influences on aging

Current Projects

  • Psychosocial Determinants of Longevity
  • Psychosocial Factors that Contribute to Elders’ Successful Cognitive and Physical Functioning
  • Mechanisms by which Age Stereotypes Influence Older Individuals Health
  • Interventions to Improve Aging Health.

Research Summary

Professor Levy's research explores psychosocial influences on aging. Her studies focus on how psychological factors, particularly older individuals' perceptions of aging, affect cognition and health in old age. She studies this by examining: 1) how psychosocial factors influence recovery and survival in old age; 2) how the aging process differs in cultures that hold diverse views of aging; and 3) how interventions, designed to trigger either positive or negative age stereotypes, influences a variety of outcomes in older individuals including memory, physical performance and cardiovascular response to stress.

Selected Publications

  • Levy, B. R., Pilver, C., Chung, P., & Slade, M .D. (2014). Subliminal Strengthening Improving Older Individuals’ Physical Function Over Time With an Implicit-Age-Stereotype Intervention. Psychological Science, 25, 2127-2135. doi: 10.1177/0956797614551970
  • Levy, B. R., Pilver, C. E., Pietrzak, R. H. (2014). Lower Prevalence of Psychiatric Conditions when Negative Age Stereotypes are Resisted. Social Science & Medicine, 119, 170-174.
  • Levy, B. R., Slade, M. D., Murphy, T. E., & Gill, T. M. (2012). Association between Positive Age Stereotypes and Recovery from Disability in Older Persons. JAMA, 308, 1972-1973.
  • Levy, B. R., Zonderman, A. B., Slade, M. D., & Ferrucci, L. (2012). Memory Shaped by Age Stereotypes over Time. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 67, 432-436.
  • Levy, B. R., & Pilver, C. E. (2012). Residual Stigma: Psychological Distress among the Formerly Overweight. Social Science and Medicine, 75, 297-299.
  • Levy, B.R., Chung, P., & Slade, M.D. (2011). Influence of Valentine’s Day and Halloween on Birth Timing. Social Science and Medicine, 73, 1246-1248.
  • Levy, B. R., Zonderman, A. B., Slade, M. D., & Ferrucci, L. (2009). Age Stereotypes Held Earlier in Life Predict Cardiovascular Events in Later Life. Psychological Science, 20, 296-298.
  • Levy, B. R., & Leifheit-Limson, E. (2009). The Stereotype-Matching Effect: Greater Influence on Functioning When Age Stereotypes Correspond to Outcomes. Psychology and Aging, 24, 230–233.
  • Levy, B. R. (2009). Stereotype Embodiment: A Psychosocial Approach to Aging. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 18, 332-336.
  • Levy, B.R., Slade, M.D., & Gill, T. (2006). Hearing Decline Predicted by Elders’ Age Stereotypes. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 61, 82-87.


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