Psychological Aging Research
Welcome on the homepage of the Department of Psychological Aging Research!
Prof. Hans-Werner Wahl takes over the role of a Senior Professor of Heidelberg University effective April 1, 2017 and he also acts as one of the directors of the Network Aging Research of Heidelberg University. New contact data are: firstname.lastname@example.org; phone: 06221-548127.
Prof. Oliver Schilling will act as deputy chair of the Department of Psychological Aging Research until a new department chair has been installed: email@example.com; phone: 06221-548111.
The aims of Psychological Aging Research
Psychological aging research focuses on change and stability of behavior (e.g. social relations), level of performance and competencies (e.g. cognitive functioning) and emotionality (e.g. positive affect) in old age.
Traditionally, transition to retirement has been used as a marker of “being old.” It is however obvious that the understanding of later life needs a life-span developmental perspective that includes midlife, but also all other previous life phases. Psychological aging research aims to increase scientific evidence on what constitutes healthy and “successful” aging as well as maladaptive and pathological variants of becoming older.
Want to know more?
- Kessler, E.-M., Kruse, A. & Wahl, H.-W. (2014). Clinical gero-psychology: A lifespan perspective. In N. A. Pachana & K. Laidlaw (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Clinical Geropsychology: International Perspectives (pp. 4-25). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Wahl, H.-W., Deeg, D. J. H. & Litwin, H. (2013). European ageing research in the social, behavioural and health areas: a multidimensional account. European Journal of Ageing, 10(4), 261-270. doi:10.1007/s10433-013-0301-9.
- Wahl, H.-W. & Lang. F. (2006). Psychological aging: A contextual view. In P. M. Conn (Ed.), Handbook of models for human aging (S. 881-895). Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Why is Psychological Aging Research of Societal Relevance?
Psychological aging research plays an important role when it comes to demographic change and transition processes (“Graying of Societies”).
For example, the results of psychological aging research have contributed greatly to a more differentiated public and personal image of current aging. A prime issue is cognitive performance. Psychological research supports the notion that important components of cognitive functioning, such as verbal abilities, life knowledge, and experiences, remain stable into very old age or may even increase.