STANFORD (CBS 5) — It’s not easy for young people at the start of their careers to imagine themselves ever retiring. But researchers at Stanford say having a clear visual image of how we might look like at retirement age could help us face reality and better plan for it.

Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab provides students with a realistic look at their future selves – wrinkles, jowls, gray hair and all. Sometimes it’s a shock.

“It’s a very powerful, visceral, emotional experience of having to be a different version of you,” said lab founder Jeremy Bailenson.

Psychology professor Laura Carstensen believes virtual aging can help young people save more for retirement.

“If we could connect to ourselves 30 or 40 years out, then we believe people will behave in a way that will recognize and take care of that future self,” Carstensen told CBS 5 ConsumerWatch.

Carstensen said students who were shown images of themselves as they might look at 65, proved to be better savers for both retirement and a rainy day.

Stanford senior Christopher Rodgers recently got a taste of what he’ll look like at 65. “It looks pretty plausible to me, especially the sunken cheeks,” said Rodgers. “I think it’ll make me consider a little bit more carefully where do I want to live, what do I want to do, how do I want to spend my life.”

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Comments (3)
  1. sc says:

    or maybe if we actually valued our seniors and kept them within eyesight instead of throwing them into an old folks home as soon as we can we would not feel so detached from getting older and “need” this nonsense

    1. Paul W says:

      Both seniors and young people could stand to learn better manners and treat each other respectfully. I’ve seen my share of both rude youngssters AND rude seniors who have inflated senses of entitlement.