Networking (Dortmund Vital Study)

apple on a desk with words next to the appleThe Dortmund Vital Study is a large-scale longitudinal study on the physiological background of cognition, its modulation by mental strain (at the workplace) and factors contributing to healthy ageing over the life span.

In this comprehensive long-term project, the influences of a wide range of modulating factors (e.g., work conditions, stress, lifestyle, physical fitness, infections, personality traits, genetics) on cognitive functions and their neurophysiological correlates will be tested, but also upon the immune system and other physiological functions.

The Dortmund Vital Study started in 2016. A cohort of up to 800 participants between 20 and 70 years old (equally distributed across all age groups) undergoes an extensive test battery. It will allow us to develop and evaluate highly specific hypotheses on the mechanisms of healthy aging, by follow-up measurements (every 5 years, starting in 2021) and the combination of elaborated experimental paradigms reflecting basic cognitive functions (such as attention, executive control, memory updating), modern EEG methodology, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and the analysis of relevant biochemical data. Work-related human factors (e.g. type of work) and the role of work conditions (like stress or job satisfaction) will be of particular interest.

Principle investigators:
Patrick GajewskiStephan GetzmannEdmund Wascher

Embedding on Site:
The study is a cooperative project of all departments of the IfADo.

External Cooperation/partners (selection):
Nikolai Axmacher, Oliver Wolff (Ruhr-Universität Bochum), Robert Kumsta (University du Luxembourg), Sebastian Ocklenburg (Medical School Hamburg)


  • Gajewski, P.D., Golka, K., Hengstler, J.G., Kadhum, T., Digutsch, J., Genç, E., Wascher, E. & Getzmann, S. (2023). Does physical fitness affect cognitive functions differently across adulthood? An advantage of being older. Frontiers in Psychology, 14, 1134770.
  • Gajewski, P.D., Rieker, J.A., Athanassiou, G., Bröde, P., Claus, M., Golka, K., Hengstler, J.G., Kleinsorge, T., Nitsche, M.A., Reinders, J., Tisch, A., Watzl, C., Wascher, E. & Getzmann, S. (2023). A systematic analysis of biological, sociodemographic, psychosocial, and lifestyle factors contributing to work ability across the working life span: Cross-sectional study. JMIR Formative Research,7, e40818.
  • Mundorf, A., Getzmann, S., Gajewski, P.D., Larra, M., Wascher, E. & Ocklenburg, S. (2023). Stress exposure, hand preference, and hand skill: A deep phenotyping approach. Laterality, DOI: 10.1080/1357650X.2023.2204551
  • Rieker, J.A., Gajewski, P.D., Reales, J.M., Ballesteros, S., Golka, K., Hengstler, J.G., Wascher, E. & Getzmann, S. (2023). The impact of physical fitness, social life, and cognitive functions on work ability in middle-aged and older adults. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 96, 507-520.
  • Gajewski, P.D., Getzmann, S., Bröde, P., Burke, M., Cadenas, C., Capellino, S., Claus, M., Genç, E., Golka, K., Hengstler, J.G., Kleinsorge, T., Marchan, R., Nitsche, M., Reinders, J., van Thriel, C., Watzl, C., Wascher, E. (2022). Impact of biological and lifestyle factors on cognitive aging and work ability in the Dortmund Vital Study: Protocol of an interdisciplinary, cross-sectional and longitudinal study. JMIR Res Protocols doi:10.2196/32352
  • Getzmann, S., Arnau, S., Gajewski, P.D., Wascher, E. (2022). When long appears short: Effects of auditory distraction on event-related potential correlates of time perception. Eur J Neurosci. 55(1):121-137. doi: 10.1111/ejn.15553
  • Metzen, D., Genç, E., Getzmann, S., Larra, M.F., Wascher, E., Ocklenburg, S. (2021). Frontal and parietal EEG alpha asymmetry: a large-scale investigation of short-term reliability on distinct EEG systems. Brain Struct Funct. 2021 Oct 21. doi: 10.1007/s00429-021-02399-1
  • Sharifian, F.; Schneider, D.; Arnau, S.; Wascher, E. (2021). Decoding of cognitive processes involved in the continuous performance task Int J Psychophysiol 167, 57-68. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2021.06.012
  • Bierbrauer, A., Kunz, L., Gomes, C.A., Luhmann, M. Deuker, L., Getzmann, S. Wascher, E., Gajewski, P.D., Hengstler, J.G., Fernandez-Alvarez, M. Atienz, M. Cammisuli, D.M., Bonatti, F., Pruneti, C., Percesepe, A., Bellaali, Y., Hanseeuw, B., Strange, B.A., Cantero, J.L., Axmacher, N. (2020). Unmasking selective path integration deficits in Alzheimer’s disease risk carriers. Sci Adv 6(35) eaba1394. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aba1394