Healthy aging is associated with various changes in sensory, motor, and cognitive functions. All of these changes can influence the cognitive and emotional skills as well as the labour productivity of older employees. As a result of the demographic change, the proportion of older employees is increasing in Germany and other European countries. Therefore, preservation the potential of older workforce as well as developing and deploying of age-differentiated work systems represent an important challenge for the future.
The networking group ‘Aging’ investigates age-related changes in mental functions, the underlying basic neural mechanisms, and modulating factors, using behavioural and modern neurophysiological methods. Understanding these processes is an essential prerequisite for interpreting age-related changes. Our core questions are:
- What are the neurophysiological mechanisms of age-related changes?
- What are the consequences of these changes for work?
- What are the sources of inter-individual differences?
- What are the roles of internal and external modulating factors like genetics and environment?
- How can mental health and cognitive abilities be preserved?
- How can age-differentiated work systems help?
Based on these questions we investigate consequences of age-related changes in working environments and in everyday life. In addition, we have a networking function within the IfADo (‘Networking’). The IfADo examines age-relevant processes and functions at different levels – from the biochemical and cellular to the behaviour level. The ultimate goal of our networking is to bridge the broad range of research competences of the IfADo and to achieve synergic effects in aging research. Furthermore, we are involved in the Leibniz Research Alliance “Healthy Aging”, an interdisciplinary collaboration of 21 scientific institutes of the Leibniz Association. Central research areas of the networking group ‘Aging’ are auditory perception and speech comprehension (‘Hearing’), mobility in aging (‘Mobility’), and training procedures, life-long learning, and interventions suitable to reduce age-related declines of cognitive abilities and to improve working ability (‘Training’). The networking group ‘Aging’ organized the first three international conferences “Aging & Cognition” that took place in Dortmund in 2010, 2013, and 2015 and supports the European Cognitive Aging Society (EUCAS). The EUCAS was founded in 2014 by Prof. Michael Falkenstein and promotes fundamental and applied research in the domain of cognitive aging.