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.

MPS-UCL Initiative

Minerva + UCL Logo


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.

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

Freund, J., Brandmaier, A. M., Lewejohann, L., Kirste, I., Kritzler, M., Krüger, A., Sachser, N., Lindenberger, U. & Kempermann, G. (2013). Emergence of individuality in genetically identical mice. Science, 340(6133), 756–759. doi: 10.1126/ science.1235294

See also Press information

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


Schneider, W., & Lindenberger, U. (Eds.). (2012). Entwicklungspsychologie [Developmental psychology] (7th compl. rev. ed.). Weinheim: Beltz.

Entwicklungspsychologie | Buchcover


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