Berlin Aging Study II (BASE-II)

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 (Demuth et al., 2019). 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 2014, 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.

Meanwhile BASE-II is in its fourth wave of data collection.

Data Collection at the Center for Lifespan Psychology

It is one of the Center's goals to comprehensively assess the age-related changes in cognition, experience, and behavior and to examine the influence of medical, genetic, and socio-economic factors on these changes. To do this, we invite our participants back every year to measure various cognitive abilities in group computer sessions. These involve tests of working memory, memorization tasks, reaction speed tests, and so on.

Using questionnaires, we also assess various psychosocial constructs to do with personalilty, experiencing stress, well-being, or future time perspectives. In the current wave, our partipants also wear an actigraph for a week to link individual sleep and activity profiles with cognitive performance.

Steering Committee

  • Denis Gerstorf (Speaker), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin & German Institute for Economic Research
  • Lars Bertram, Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein, Lübeck
  • Johanna Drewelies, Max Planck Institute for Human Development
  • Ilja Demuth, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
  • Sandra Düzel, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
  • Jan Göbel, DIW Berlin
  • Simone Kühn, Max Planck Institute for Human Development
  • Ulman Lindenberger, Max Planck Institute for Human Development
  • Graham Pawelec, Universität Tübingen
  • Elisabeth Steinhagen-Thiessen, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
  • Andreas Thiel, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
  • Arno Villringer, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig
  • Gert G. Wagner, Max Planck Institute for Human Development

The Berlin Aging Studies BASE and BASE-II participated in this EU-funded project together with the Formal Methods project. It integrated data from 6000 participants in 11 European neuroimaging studies carried out in 7 countries and ended in 2023. more

Selected Publications

Click here for the complete BASE-II publication list.

Gerstorf, D., Ram, N., Drewelies, J., Duezel, S., Eibich, P., Steinhagen-Thiessen, E., Liebig, S., Goebel, J., Demuth, I., Villringer, A., Wagner, G. G., Lindenberger, U., & Ghisletta, P. (2023). Today’s older adults are cognitively fitter than older adults were 20 years ago, but when and how they decline is no different than in the past. Psychological Science, 34(1), 22–34.
Köhncke, Y., Düzel, S., Sander, M. C., Lindenberger, U., Kühn, S., & Brandmaier, A. M. (2021). Hippocampal and parahippocampal gray matter structural integrity assessed by multimodal imaging is associated with episodic memory in old age. Cerebral Cortex, 31(3), 1464–1477.
Nyberg, L., Magnussen, F., Lundquist, A., Baare, W., Bartés-Faz, D., Bertram, L., Boraxbekk, C. J., Brandmaier, A. M., Drevon, C. A., Ebmeier, K., Ghisletta, P., Henson, R. N., Junqué, C., Kievit, R., Kleemeyer, M., Knights, E., Kühn, S., Lindenberger, U., Penninx, B. W. J. H., Pudas, S., Sørensen, Ø., Vaqué-Alcázar, L., Walhovd, K. B., & Fjell, A. M. (2021). Educational attainment does not influence brain aging. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(18), Article e2101644118.
Bender, A. R., Brandmaier, A. M., Düzel, S., Keresztes, A., Pasternak, O., Lindenberger, U., & Kühn, S. (2020). Hippocampal subfields and limbic white matter jointly predict learning rate in older adults. Cerebral Cortex, 30(4), 2465–2477.
Demuth, I., Bertram, L., Drewelies, J., Düzel, S., Lill, C. M., Lindenberger, U., Pawelec, G., Spira, D., Wagner, G. G., & Gerstorf, D. (2019). Berlin Aging Study II (BASE-II). In D. Gu & M. E. Dupre (Eds.), Encyclopedia of gerontology and population aging (Living ed.). Springer.
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