I am Professor and chair of Developmental Psychology at Humboldt University Berlin, Germany. I also hold appointments as Adjunct Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State University and as Research Fellow at the Socio-Economic Panel, one of the longest-running national surveys worldwide. I have the privilege to serve as (Associate/Section) editor for the journals Psychology and Aging and Gerontology, and have been for many years in that role for the International Journal of Behavioral Development. I am Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. I also very much enjoy being the chairperson of the interdisciplinary, multi-institutional Berlin Aging Study-II consortium.
What I find exciting about this research initiative
The consortium provides an interdisciplinary perspective on the nature, correlates, and mechanisms underlying social cohesion. Drawing from my long-standing academic socialization in interdisciplinary teams, it is the first time now to work intensively together and exchange with scholars primarily from the fields of the humanities and social sciences, including media and communication scholars, linguists, philosophers, and political scientists. What also draw me in is the multidimensional understanding of social cohesion, to encompass positive and desirable facets but also (already by design) negative and unwanted sides.
What my discipline can contribute to this research initiative
… is to help us better understand one of the key features that constitute what is at the core of social cohesion: The dynamics between people and how these evolve over micro-time metrics such as second, minutes, and hours as well as macro-time scales such as months, years, and decades. We as psychologist can also contribute a number of research paradigms both under controlled conditions in the lab as well as daily-life assessments as people go about their usual routines that may help us track how social cohesion evolves and what relevant antecedents, correlates, and consequences are.
Five key publications
Gerstorf, D., Hueluer, G., Drewelies, J., Willis, S. L., Schaie, K. W., & Ram, N. (2020). Adult development and aging in historical context. American Psychologist, 75(4), 525–539.
Drewelies, J., Huxhold, O., & Gerstorf, D. (2019). The role of historical change for adult development and aging: Towards a theoretical framework about the how and the why. Psychology and Aging, 34(8), 1021–1039.
Hoppmann, C. A., & Gerstorf, D. (2016). Social interrelations in aging: The sample case of married couples. In K. W. Schaie & S. L. Willis (Eds.), Handbook of the psychology of aging (8th ed., pp. 263–277). San Diego, CA: Elsevier.
Wahl, H.–W. & Gerstorf, D. (2018). A conceptual framework for studying Context Dynamics in Aging (CODA). Developmental Review, 50(Part B), 155–176.
Gerstorf, D., Hoppmann, C. A., & Ram, N. (2014). The promise and challenges of integrating multiple time–scales in adult developmental inquiry. Research in Human Development, 11(2), 75–90.