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.

Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research

Minerva + UCL Logo

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

Jacobs ISSBD Fellowship Program for Early Career Scholars

Logo ISSBD und Jacobs Foundation

In April 2011, the Jacobs Foundation approved funding the Mentored Fellowship Program for Early Career Scholars. The International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development (ISSBD) and the Jacobs Foundation share an interest in developing the careers of young scholars from all parts of the world, especially from poorer countries, who may be more likely to advance research on children and youth.

Further information


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

New Publication

Lindenberger, U. (2014). Human cognitive aging: Corriger la fortune? Science, 346(6209), 572–578. doi: 10.1126/science. 1254403

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

Onyx Logo |

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!

The Anatomy of Learning

An article about work carried out at the Center for Lifespan Psychology was published under this heading in MaxPlanckResearch 2/2013 — Focus Neurobiology.

3-Tesla-Tomograf | Das MRT-Labor im MPI fuer Bildungsforschung


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

More information on LIFE