Ursula Staudinger

Ursula Staudinger

Research Interests

Ph.D., Free University Berlin, 1988

General Area of Research

Investigating the plasticity of the aging process in cognition and personality as well as its neurophysiological underpinnings; research on the psychology of wisdom; adult development in the work context.

Current Research

Modern notions of development, such as the lifespan approach, claim that human development is the result of the interaction between three different sources: biology (maturation/senescence), culture (learning), and the individual person (decision/action). This leaves much room for variation between individuals; this potential for variation and change is labeled plasticity (e.g., Staudinger, Marsiske & Baltes, 1995). More specifically, plasticity is defined as the divergence of an individual’s development from the average developmental trajectory, for better or for worse. Two types of “positive” plasticity need to be distinguished: resilience and growth. Plasticity is dependent on available internal or external resources. Research in my lab aims to identify the contextual and individual characteristics that are crucial to facilitate productive adult development and aging; we seek to promote positive plasticity of adult development. In terms of external contexts, we currently focus on both work environments as well as the larger context of civil society. With regard to internal contexts, we have been investigating the effects of physical fitness. So far, we have concentrated on investigating the plasticity of cognitive functioning, features of personality such as personality dimensions and emotion regulation, as well as job performance and health.

Relevant Publications

Uglanova, E. A., & Staudinger, U. M. (2013). Zooming in on Life Events: Is Hedonic Adaptation Sensitive to the Temporal Distance from the Event? Social Indicators Research, 111(1), 265-286. 

Mühlig-Versen, A., Bowen, C. E., & Staudinger, U. M. (2012). Personality Plasticity in Later Adulthood: Contextual and Personal Resources Are Needed to Increase Openness to New Experiences. Psychology & Aging, 27(4), 855-866. 

Staudinger, U.M. & Glueck, J. (2011). Psychological wisdom research: Commonalities and differences in a growing field. Annual Review of Psychology, 62, 215-241. 

Voelcker-Rehage, C., Godde, B., & Staudinger, U. M. (2011). Cardiovascular and coordination training differentially improve cognitive performance and neural processing in older adults. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 5, 1-12. 

Kessler, E.-M., & Staudinger, U. M. (2007). Intergenerational potential: Effects of social interaction between older adults and adolescents. Psychology and Aging, 22(4), 690-704. 

Staudinger, U. M., & Baltes, P. B. (1996). Interactive minds: A facilitative setting for wisdom-related performance? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 746-762. 

Staudinger, U. M., Marsiske, M., & Baltes, P. B. (1995). Resilience and reserve capacity in later adulthood: Potentials and limits of development across the life span. In D. Cicchetti & D. Cohen (Eds.), Developmental psychopathology (Vol. 2: Risk, disorder, and adaptation, pp. 801-847). New York: Wiley. 

Courses Taught