On 28 January, Ursula Staudinger was invited by the German Center of Research and Innovation (GCRI) to speak on cognitive plasticity in adulthood. In her talk, she presented the concept of in vivo (real-life) plasticity and discussed her research focusing on the opportunities and challenges of increases in average life expectancy.
According to Ursula Staudinger there are three main factors that impact cognitive plasticity, which can be understood as the modifiability of human development. First, biological and genetic information are crucial. However, Staudinger emphasized that biological factors need context to unfold. “It is important to pay attention to the socio-cultural context and the physical environments within which we are embedded as we move through life,” she said. Ursula Staudinger also pointed out that the developing individual itself plays an important role in the aging process. “We are a self-reflecting species. And so the thoughts, attitudes and our lifestyles imprint themselves on how aging unfolds.”
“We need to think about societal structures and how they have to change to be optimizing societies of longer lives”, she concluded. Her findings provide helpful advice for living, work, and education during this time of unprecedented demographic change.
“Brain and behavior are modifiable, even as we get older” by Marilynn Larkin