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Healthy Ageing Colloquium Series: prof. dr. Ursula M. Staudinger, The Plasticity of Ageing: Psychological Perspectives

When:Th 14-02-2013 15:00 - 16:00

Location: Bouman building, room 136 (Gadourek lecture room )

The Plasticity of Ageing: Psychological Perspectives

Lecturer: prof. dr. Ursula M. Staudinger

(Jacobs Center on Lifelong Learning; Jacobs University Bremen)


Neither human development nor ageing 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 ageing 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 ageing, 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 ageing process.

For more informatieon please contact dr. Susanne Scheibe,