Berlin Aging Study II (BASE-II)

One of the most salient aspects of aging is its heterogeneity. Some individuals maintain their health and preserve their cognitive abilities into advanced ages, whereas others show precipitous and early decline. To understand the mechanisms that produce this diversity of outcomes, we need to follow the trajectories of aging individuals over time. With this goal in mind, researchers from Berlin and Tübingen initiated the Berlin Aging Study II (Bertram et al., 2014). Like BASE, BASE-II was set up as a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional longitudinal study that captures a wide range of different functional domains. Geriatrics and internal medicine as well as immunology, psychology, genetics, sociology, and economics are among the disciplines involved. The study received financial support from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The recruitment of the BASE-II cohort, which was completed in 2013, resulted in a consolidated baseline sample of 1,600 older adults aged 60 to 80 years and of 600 younger adults aged 20 to 35 years (Bertram et al., 2014). Data from this baseline sample can be linked to the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP), a longitudinal panel survey that is representative of the German population, to estimate sample selectivity. See BASE-II in SOEP.

Testing at the Center for Lifespan Psychology

Cognitive Battery of BASE-II
© MPI fuer Bildungsforschung

After extensive piloting, a comprehensive battery of cognitive tests and a psychological questionnaire were added to the baseline protocol in March 2013. The cognitive test battery is distributed across two testing sessions. It includes various facets of episodic memory as well as measures of working memory, cognitive control, fluid intelligence, reading skills, and decision making. It also includes a newly developed measure of subjective health, the subjective health horizon (SHH), to assess participants’ motivation to engage in explorative and novel activities (Düzel et al., 2016). The psychological questionnaire contains measures of self-reported health, well-being, personality, stress, coping, and of attitudes toward aging.

Steering Group

Denis Gerstorf (Speaker)

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin & German Institute for Economic Research

Lars Bertram University of Lübeck
Ulman Lindenberger

Max Planck Institute for Human Development

Graham Pawelec University of Tübingen
Elisabeth Steinhagen-Thiessen Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Gert G. Wagner German Institute for Economic Research & Max Planck Institute for Human Development


Katrin Schaar Max Planck Institute for Human Development

Recent Publications

Düzel, S., Drewelies, J., Kühn, S., Gerstorf, D., & Lindenberger, U. (in press). Facets of subjective health horizons are differentially linked to brain volume. GeroPsych.

Düzel, S., & Gerstorf, D. (Eds.). (in press). The (domain-differentiated) nature of future time perspective and its antecedents, correlates, and consequences. GeroPsych [Special issue].

König, M., Drewelies, J., Norman, K., Spira, D., ... Lindenberger, U., ... Demuth, I. (2018). Historical trends in modifiable indicators of cardiovascular health and self-rated health among older adults: Cohort differences over 20 years between the Berlin Aging Study (BASE) and the Berlin Aging Study II (BASE-II). PLoS ONE, 13(1): e0191699. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0191699

Notthoff, N., Drewelies, J., ... Steinhagen-Thiessen, E., Norman, K., Düzel, S., ... Lindenberger, U., ... Gerstorf, D. (2018). Feeling older, walking slower—but only if someone's watching: Subjective age is associated with walking speed in the laboratory, but not in real life. European Journal of Ageing. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10433-017-0450-3

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, 50, 47–56. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eurpsy.2017.12.006

Davies, G., Lam, M., Harris, S. E., Trampush, J., ... Liu, T., ... Lindenberger, U., ... Deary, I. J. (2017). Ninety-nine independent genetic loci influencing general cognitive function include genes associated with brain health and structure (N = 280,360). bioRxiv: 176511. https://doi.org/10.1101/176511

Joshi, P., Pirastu, N., Kentistou, K., Fischer, K., Hofer, E., ... Lindenberger, U., ... Giulianini, F. (2017). Genome-wide meta-analysis associates HLA-DQA1/DRB1 and LPA and lifestyle factors with human longevity. Nature Communications, 8: 910. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-00934-5

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

Kühn, S., Düzel, S., Eibich, P., Krekel, C., Wüstemann, H., ... Wagner, G. G., & Lindenberger, U. (2017). In search of features that constitute an "enriched environment" in humans: Associations between geographical properties and brain structure. Scientific Reports, 7: 11920. https://doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-12046-7

Schaar, K. (2017). Anpassung von Einwilligungserklärungen für wissenschaftliche Forschungsprojekte. Die informierte Einwilligung nach den Vorgaben der DS-GVO und Ethikrichtlinien. Zeitschrift für Datenschutz: ZD, 7, 213–220.

See also the publcation list on the BASE-II website


Sandra Düzel
Ulman Lindenberger
Gert G. Wagner

Ylva Köhncke (postdoc)

Katrin Schaar (coordination)

Kirsten Becker (research assistant)
Martin Becker (database management)
Berndt Wischnewski (programming)

For external cooperation partners: see overview of Steering Group to the left


Liefebrain Logo

BASE and BASE-II are participating in Lifebrain, an EU funded project. It integrates data from 6000 participants in 11 European neuroimaging studies carried out in 7 countries.

Website: www.lifebrain.uio.no

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, 50, 47–56. https://doi.org/ 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2017.12.006

Key References

Bertram, L., Böckenhoff, A., Demuth, I., Düzel, S., Eckardt, R., Li, S.-C., Lindenberger, U., Pawelec, G., Siedler, T., Wagner, G. G., & Steinhagen-Thiessen, E. (2014). Cohort profile: The Berlin Aging Study II (BASE-II). International Journal of Epidemiology, 43, 703–712. doi: 10.1093/ije/ dyt018

Delius, J. A. M., Düzel, S., Gerstorf, D., & Lindenberger, U. (2017). Berlin Aging Studies (BASE and BASE-II). In N. A. Pachana (Ed.), Encyclopedia of geropsychology (pp. 386–395). New York: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-981-287-080-3_44-1

Gerstorf, D., Bertram, L., Lindenberger, U., Pawelec, G., Wagner, G. G., & Steinhagen-­Thiessen, E. (Eds.). (2016). The Berlin Aging Study II: An overview [Special section]. Gerontology, 62, 311–370.

See also publication list on the BASE-II website

BASE-II Website

Logo BASE II | Berli Aging Study II