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:
Christian Beste (Uni-Klinikum Dresden), Edward J. Golob (UTSA University of Texas), Nikolai Axmacher, Robert Kumsta, Sebastian Ocklenburg (Ruhr-Universität Bochum).


  • 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
  • Getzmann, S. Digutsch, J. Kleinsorge, T. (2021). COVID-19 pandemic and personality: agreeable people are more stressed by the feeling of missing. Int J Environ Res Public Health 18(20). 10759. doi: 10759.10.3390/ijerph182010759
  • Thönes, S., Wascher, E. Gajewski, P.D., Getzmann, S. (2021). Time hurries on but does not fly in older age – no effect of depressive symptoms. Timing Time Percept 9(3), 241–256. doi: 10.1163/22134468-bja10007
  • 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
  • Gajewski, P.D., Hanisch, E., Falkenstein, M. Thönes, S., Wascher E. (2018). What does the n-back task measure as we get older? Relation between working-memory measures and other executive functions as a function of age. Front Psychol 9:2208. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02208.