08 May 2013
IIASA, Laxenburg

Guest Lecture by Prof. Ursula Staudinger

Invited by the World Population Program Prof. Staudinger presents new research on Aging

Prof. Dr. Ursula Staudinger (Vice-president of the Leopoldina, Vice President of Jacobs University Bremen and Founding Dean of the Jacobs Center on Lifelong Learning and Institutional Development) has been invited by Vegard Skirbekk, Leader Age and Cohort Change (ACC) Project, to present her latest research to IIASA audience. Entitled "The Plasticity of Aging: Psychological Perspectives", the lecture will take place on 8 May at IIASA in Laxenburg.


Neither human development nor aging are biologically or contextually determined. Instead they are probabilistic in nature, as they are the result of continuous interactions between biological and sociocultural forces. This is why developmental trajectories can take many different shapes within biological limits. This variability has been labeled ‘plasticity of human development’. An empirically observed developmental trajectory of a person depends on the internal and external resources that are available to her/him. Examples from demography, cognitive and personality functioning are introduced to illustrate the plasticity of aging and its limits. The limits of plasticity have been identified mainly in very old age. Given the findings accumulating from the field of epigenetics, the question arises whether these age-related limits are biological constants that outlast even cultural change or whether these limits also underlie historical change. Given the plasticity of human development and aging, it is worthwhile compiling more and more scientific knowledge about which characteristics of sociocultural contexts are optimal for unfolding the potential of aging. Also, it is crucial to systematically collect cohort comparative longitudinal data to be able to ascertain historical changes in the aging process.

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Last edited: 15 March 2013

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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