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.

Selected Recent Publications

Driver, C. C., & Voelkle, M. C. (in press). Hierarchical Bayesian continuous time dynamic modeling. Psychological Methods.

Fandakova, Y., Sander, M. C., Grandy, T. H., Cabeza, R., Werkle-Bergner, M., & Shing, Y. L. (in press). Age differences in false memory: The importance of retrieval monitoring processes and their modulation by memory quality. Psychology and Aging.

Müller, V., Sänger, J., & Lindenberger, U. (in press). Hyper-brain network properties of guitarists playing in quartet. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

Raffington, L., Prindle, J., & Shing, Y. L. (in press). Income gains predict cognition throughout later childhood in poor children. Developmental Psychology.

Salami, A., Rieckmann, A., Karalija, N., ... Papenberg, G., Garrett, D. D., ... Lindenberger, U., ... Nyberg, L. (in press). Neurocognitive profiles of healthy older adults with working-memory dysfunction. Cerebral Cortex.

Bender, A. R., Keresztes, A., Bodammer, N. C., Shing, Y. L., Werkle-Bergner, M., ..., Kühn, S., Lindenberger, U., & Raz, N. (2018). Optimization and validation of automated hippocampal subfield segmentation across the lifespan. Human Brain Mapping, 39, 916–931. https://doi.org/10.1002/hbm.23891

Brandmaier, A. M., von Oertzen, T., Ghisletta, P., Lindenberger, U., & Hertzog, C. (2018). Precision, reliability, and effect size of slope variance in latent growth curve models: Implications for statistical power analysis. Frontiers in Psychology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00294

Brod, G., & Shing, Y. L. (2018). Specifying the role of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex in memory formation. Neuropsychologia, 111, 8–15. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2018.01.005

Jacobucci, R., Brandmaier, A. M., & Kievit, R. A. (2018, February 16). Variable selection in structural equation models with regularized MIMIC Models. Open Science Framework. https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/BXZJF

Raffington, L., Prindle, J., Keresztes, A., Binder, J., Heim, C., & Shing, Y. L. (2018). Blunted cortisol stress reactivity in low–income children relates to lower memory function. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 90, 110–121. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2018.02.002

Walhovd, K. B., Fjell, A. M., Westerhausen, R., Nyberg, L., Ebmeier, K. P., Lindenberger, U., ... for Lifebrain Consortium. (2018). Healthy minds from 0–100 years: Optimising the use of European brain imaging cohorts ("Lifebrain"). European Psychiatry. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eurpsy.2017.10.006

Yuan, P., Voelkle, M. C., & Raz, N. (2018). Fluid intelligence and gross structural properties of the cerebral cortex in middle-aged and older adults: A multi-occasion longitudinal study. NeuroImage, 172, 21–30. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.01.032

Kievit, R., Brandmaier, A., Ziegler, G., van Harmelen, A.-L., de Mooij, S., ... Lindenberger, U., & Dolan, R. (2017). Developmental cognitive neuroscience using latent change score models: A tutorial and applications. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2017.11.007

Kühn, S., Düzel, S., Colzato, L., Norman, K., ... Brandmaier, A. M., Lindenberger, U., & Widaman, K. F. (2017). Food for thought: Association between dietary tyrosine and cognitive performance in younger and older adults. Psychological Research. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-017-0957-4

Lövdén, M., Karalija, N., Andersson, M., Wåhlin, A., Axelsson, J., Wåhlin, A., ... Lindenberger, U. (2017). Latent-profile analysis reveals behavioral and brain correlates of dopamine-cognition associations. Cerebral Cortex. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhx253

See also Publications.

Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research

MPS UCL Centre Logo

Cooperation With University College London (UCL)

The Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research was launched in April 2014. It is based on an initiative by scientists from the Max Planck Society and UCL targeting the development and application of computational methods that reorganize and improve our understanding of mental illness and behavioral aging.

Further information


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

Research Report

Research Report 2014 bis 2016

The Institute's Research Report provides more information on the Center for Lifespan Psychology.



Liefebrain Logo

Lifebrain ist ein EU-gefördertes Projekt, an dem sich die Berliner Altersstudien BASE und BASE_II beteiligen. Es integriert Daten von 6000 Studienteilnehmern, die bei 11 europäischen Studien mit bildgebenden Verfahren in 7 Ländern erhoben wurden.

Website: www.lifebrain.uio.no

In Memoriam

Paul B. Baltes Porträt

Paul B. Baltes

1980–2004 Director of the Center for Lifespan Psychology

Further information