University of Florida | Department of Psychology

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Susan Bluck

Susan Bluck is Professor of Psychology, Director, Graduate Certificate in Gerontology and a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. In her Life Story Lab, www.lifestorylab.wordpress.com she guides a diverse, dynamic team of graduate and undergraduate researchers in answering the question: Why do humans remember so much about their own lives?

Dr. Bluck’s research focuses on how people use their autobiographical memories adaptively across adulthood. Using quantitative and narrative methods, her research elucidates how autobiographical memory aids in maintaining a sense of identity, developing social bonds such as intimacy and empathy, and directing future plans. Susan’s interests extend to the very end of the lifespan, including death-related and end-of-life issues.

She collaborates with UF Health Palliative Care, NICAP and the College of Nursing on providing quality care at the end of life. Dr. Bluck has published widely: her theoretical and empirical work has been cited over 4000 times. She maintains an international profile through collaborations in Austria, the Netherlands, Trinidad and Taiwan.

Dr. Bluck is also an innovative educator, teaching courses that integrate community-based and experiential learning. Her courses include adulthood and aging, memory, gerontology, and death and dying. Most recently her students have been learning through involvement in the national Death over Dinner, www.deathoverdinner.org and Before I Die Wall, www.beforeidie.city/about initiatives.

In terms of her own life story, hailing originally from Vancouver, Canada, Dr. Bluck obtained her PhD from the School of Social Ecology at the University of California, Irvine. She came to UF in 2000 after a post-doctoral position at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany. After a fun life chapter in Micanopy, she now lives in Gainesville. Outside of work she has an organic garden, creates stuff, gets out in nature, and is slowly but surely renovating a cabin with her partner in the Canadian Gulf Islands.