Gerontologists studying the aging process find increasing evidence that most of us will age with a fair degree of success. There’s far less institutionalization and disability than one might have guessed. While the size of social networks shrink with age, the quality of the relationships improves. There are types of cognitive skills that improve in old age (these are related to social intelligence and to making good strategic use of facts, rather than merely remembering them easily). The average elderly individual thinks his or her health is above average, and takes pleasure from that. And most important, the average level of happiness increases in old age; fewer negative emotions occur and, when they do, they don’t persist as long. Connected to this, brain-imaging studies show that negative images have less of an impact, and positive images have more of an impact on brain metabolism in older people, as compared to young.