Our work proceeds from the theoretical idea that development is a life-long process. Although the ratio between gains and losses changes with age in that losses become increasingly prevalent, gains can occur until very old age. This idea also suggests that, at any time during the lifespan, new processes can begin. Development is not fixed but can take many forms given that human behavior evinces plasticity. It is also evident that the onset, degree, and direction of a given developmental process can greatly vary across different contexts and individuals.

As to the domains of development, our work focuses on emotions - basic emotions and more complex emotional competencies - and how they relate to motivational, social, and cognitive processes. One goal is to describe emotional development from adolescence until old age as a process that, at any age, simultaneously involves gains and losses. A secondary goal is to better understand the role that emotions and emotional competencies play for a successful development of the individual.

An additional focus of our research refers to the psychology of wisdom. Adopting the Berlin wisdom paradigm, we have defined wisdom as exceptional broad and deep knowledge about important but uncertain questions referring to the meaning and conduct of life. We are interested in age differences in wisdom-related knowledge as well as the interplay between wisdom-related knowledge and wisdom-related action.

Our empirical approach utilizes diverse methodologies ranging from laboratory experiments, focusing on the interplay of behavioral and physiological processes involved in emotion and emotion regulation to field studies examining aspects of emotional functioning in day-to-day life.

last update: 24.06.2019 

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