The Center for Lifespan Psychology

Founded in 1981 by the late Paul B. Baltes, the Center for Lifespan Psychology (LIP) at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development has helped to establish lifespan psychology as a distinct conceptual approach within developmental psychology. Since 2004, the Center has extended its research program into developmental behavioral neuroscience. Work at the Center is guided by three propositions:

  • to study lifespan changes in behavior as interactions among maturation, learning, and senescence;
  • to develop theories and methods that integrate empirical evidence across domains of functioning, timescales, as well as behavioral and neural levels of analysis;
  • to identify mechanisms of development by exploring age-graded differences in plasticity.

The Center continues to pay special attention to the age periods of late adulthood and old age, which offer unique opportunities for innovation, both in theory and practice. At the same time, it has continuously increased its research on behavioral development during earlier periods of life.

A Philosopher of the Enlightenment Era: Tetens


"But ... its eminent modifiability, and its predisposition to self-initiated action, may it develop little or much, and may it differ in amount between different individuals, is among the immutable features of humankind, which can be found whereever humans exist."

Johann Nicolaus Tetens (1736-1807), philosopher of the Enlightenment Era

The Center's Projects

The Center for Lifespan Psychology's eight projects follow its guiding propositions and examine different facets of human development across the lifespan. Further information is available under Projects.

Recent Publications

Brandmaier, A. M., Oertzen, T. v., Ghisletta, P., Hertzog, C., & Lindenberger, U. (2015). LIFESPAN: A tool for the computer-aided design of longitudinal studies. Frontiers in Psychology, 6: 272. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00272

Brose, A., Voelkle, M. C., Lövdén, M., Lindenberger, U., & Schmiedek, F. (2015). Differences in the between-person and the within-person structures of affect are a matter of degree. European Journal of Personality, 29, 55–71. doi: 10.1002/per.1961

Fandakova, Y., Lindenberger, U., & Shing, Y. L. (2015). Maintenance of youth-like processing protects against false memory in later adulthood. Neurobiology of Aging, 36, 933–941. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.10.022

Garrett, D. D., Nagel, I. E., Preuschhof, C., Burzynska, A. Z., Marchner, J., Wiegert, S., ... Lindenberger, U. (in press). Amphetamine modulates brain signal variability and working memory in younger and older adults. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.

Lindenberger, U., Delius, J. A. M., & Staudinger, U. M. (2015). Baltes, Paul B. (1939–2006). In J. Wright (Ed.), International encyclopedia of social and behavioral sciences (2nd ed., pp. 349–352). Oxford: Elsevier.

Nagel, I. E., & Lindenberger, U. (2015). Adult age differences in working memory: Evidence from functional neuroimaging. In R. H. Logie & R. Morris (Eds.), Working memory and ageing (pp. 129–154). Hove, UK: Psychology Press.

Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research

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New Centre Launched

In early 2011, scientists from the Max Planck Society (MPS) and University College London (UCL) launched an initiative on the development and application of computational methods that reorganize and improve our understanding of mental illness and behavioral aging. Following on from that initiative, the new Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research took up its work in April 2014.

Further information


Ulman Lindenberger
Ulman Lindenberger Porträt
seklindenberger [at] mpib-berlin [dot] mpg [dot] de

Consensus on the Brain Training Industry from the Scientific Community

From the statement of experts in the field:

"We object to the claim that brain games offer consumers a scientifically grounded avenue to reduce or reverse cognitive decline when there is no compelling scientific evidence to date that they do. The promise of a magic bullet detracts from the best evidence to date, which is that cognitive health in old age reflects the long-term effects of healthy, engaged lifestyles. In the judgment of the signatories below, exaggerated and misleading claims exploit the anxieties of older adults about impending cognitive decline. We encourage continued careful research and validation in this field."

See scientists' full statement

New Software

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The graphical structural equation modeling software Ωnyx has been released. It was developed by the Center for Lifespan Psychology and the University of Virgina, and is available free of charge!


LIFE is a graduate program of the Max Planck Society. Human development across the lifespan is its research topic.

More information on LIFE


In Memoriam

Paul B. Baltes Porträt

Paul B. Baltes

1980–2004 Director of the Center for Lifespan Psychology

Further information