Baltes, Paul B (1939-2006)

Research output: Contribution to book/conference proceedings/anthology/reportChapter in book/anthology/reportContributedpeer-review


  • Ulman Lindenberger - , Max Planck Institute for Human Development (Author)
  • Julia A.M. Delius - , Max Planck Institute for Human Development (Author)
  • Ursula M. Staudinger - , Columbia University (Author)


Developmental psychologist Paul B. Baltes (1939-2006) was born in Saarlouis, Germany. After studying in Germany he moved to the United States, where he continued the conceptual and methodological quest of his doctoral dissertation to transform developmental psychology into a science that seeks to describe, explain, and modify individual differences in behavioral development across the entire life span. His work was pivotal in establishing life span psychology as a comprehensive and distinct theoretical orientation within contemporary developmental psychology. Paul Baltes' career was characterized by internationality, interdisciplinarity, generativity, societal concern, and institutional prudence and sagacity. One of his central research interests was to explore age-graded changes in the range of plasticity in individual development, with the goal to identify and promote personal and societal conditions that favor successful aging. At the same time, he was not negligent of the negative sides of very old age, and spoke of old age and aging as 'hope with a mourning band.'.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences
EditorsJames D. Wright
Number of pages4
EditionSecond Edition
ISBN (electronic)9780080970875
ISBN (print)9780080970868
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • Adulthood, Aging, Biocultural co-constructivism, Cognition, Developmental psychology, Erikson, Erik Homburger (1902-94), Gerontology, Life span development, Piaget, Jean (1896-1980), Plasticity, Selection, optimization, compensation (SOC)