Open Lecture Series in June and July 2020

The LIFE Theory Lab: Contemporary theorizing, methodological advancements,  and future challenges for  lifespan developmental science

Arguably, human ontogentic development is more than a simple story of growth during childhood and decline with advancing age. Rather, the intricate interplay between genetic dispositions, environmental opportunities, biological mechanisms, and personal experiences shapes a unique intellectual and emotional repertoire across the lifespan. Since its foundations ~ 50 years ago (e.g., Baltes et al., 1977), lifespan developmental science has aimed at deriving general principles describing ontogenetic change in intellectual, emotional, and social functions integrating and transforming insights from child-development and aging research (e.g., Baltes et al., 1999; Craik & Bialystok, 2006). This view was further pushed by fusing advances in modelling of behavioral change with modern genetic and neuroscientific methods broadening the scope of developmental thinking from the behavioral sciences to nearby biological, medical, and artificial intelligence fields. 

The present lecture series has been conceived as a virtual, open-science exchange on conceptual and methodological advances in the study of behavioral development across the lifespan. It is meant to provide leading researchers with a platform to speak about their views on the ways in which the interplay between theory and methods has informed scientific progress in the study of human behavioral development.

The lecture series promotes open formats of science dissemination. Technically, the lectures will rely on GoToWebinar. Lecture attendees will be given the opportunity to register for free with their email addresses. In addition, each session will be recorded, and made available on the LIFE video channel of the MPI for Human Development at

If you want to participate please contact Silke Schäfer,


June 04, 2020
Tomás Ryan (Trinity College Dublin)
“Instinct and Memory (TBD)”

June 11, 2020
Charles Nelson (Harvard University)
„Critical Periods in Early Human Development“
June 18, 2020
Candice Odgers (Duke University)
„Charting Individual Development“
June 25, 2020
Eric Turkheimer (University of Virginia)
„Gene – Environment Interplay“
July 02, 2020
Lars Nyberg (Umea University)
„Lifespan Maintenance of Brain and Cognition – Fiction or Science?“
July 09, 2020
Gerd Kempermann  (Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden)
„Adult Neurogenesis, Enriched Environments, and the Neurobiology of Life-style dependent Resilience“
June 16, 2020
Danielle Bassett (University of Pennsylvania)
„Structure-Function Couplings in Human Brain Development“
July 23, 2020
Iyad Rahwan (Max Planck Institute for Human Development)
„Machine Behavior“
July 30, 2020
Ulman Lindenberger (Max Planck Institute for Human Development)
Why We Need a Lifespan Approach to Developmental Change
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