Project Information

What is the Berlin Aging Study (BASE)?

The Berlin Aging Study is a multidisciplinary investigation of old people aged 70 to over 100 years who live in former West Berlin. In the main study (1990–1993), a core sample (see Samples) of 516 individuals was closely examined in 14 sessions covering their mental and physical health, their psychological functioning, and their social and economic situation. Since then, the study has been continued as a longitudinal study, and surviving participants have been reexamined seven times (see Methods).

© Karl Groß

BASE is a project initiated by the interdisciplinary research group "Aging and Societal Development" at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and conducted by several Berlin institutions in collaboration.

Until the end of 1998 it was supported by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth and the participating institutions. From 2008 to 2011, it was co-sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The Center for Lifespan Psychology at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development has led the project since 2008.

Berlin Aging Study II (BASE-II)

The Berlin Aging Study II is a continuation of the Berlin Aging Study. BASE-II investigates the physical, cognitive, and social conditions that lead to successful aging. In all, 2.200 Berlin residents are being investigated. They form two groups: 1.600 participants belong to the older sample aged between 60 and 80, and 600 participants are between 20 and 35. The group of younger people functions as a reference group for the group of older participants. The first wave of data collection started in 2009 and will continue until 2014. Like BASE, BASE-II is conceptualized as a longitudinal study: Repetition of the assessments approximately every three years is in planning to gain information about aging over time.

Detailed information on this study can be found on the BASE-II website: www.base2.mpg.de


A healthy brain is essential to enjoy a productive human life. Many environmental, social, occupational, and lifestyle factors influence brain health. The Lifebrain project aims to identify these factors and understand how they influence brain development, cognitive function and mental health at different stages of life.

Lifebrain integrates data from 6000 European research participants collected in 11 European brain-imaging studies in 7 countries. Lifebrain also aims to collect additional data and biological samples from some participants in the project. BASE and BASE-II are participating in this project.

Lifebrain is an international research project funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme.

Ulman Lindenberger, Simone Kühn, Andreas Brandmaier, & Sandra Düzel

Website: www.lifebrain.uio.no


Berlin Aging Study (BASE)
basempi [at] mpib-berlin [dot] mpg [dot] de


This BASE article was honored with the Elsevier Atlas Award.

Hilbrand, S., Coall, D. A., Gerstorf, D., & Hertwig, R. (2017). Caregiving within and beyond the family is associated with lower mortality for the caregiver: A longitudinal study. Evolution and Human Behavior, 38, 397–403. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav. 2016.11.010

BASE Directorship

Steering Committee Until 2006

  • Prof. Dr. Paul B. Baltes
  • Prof. Dr. Hanfried Helmchen
  • Prof. Dr. Karl Ulrich Mayer
  • Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Steinhagen-Thiessen