The capacities for learning and memory are behind the most remarkable achievements of humankind. For the individual, these abilities are of great importance for well-being and health throughout life. The aims of our research are therefore to discover the principal mechanisms that govern human learning and to uncover factors that influence learning in older age. Ultimately, we hope that the knowledge we gain will help humans to learn and age more successfully.

Learning and brain plasticity in aging and neurodegenerative disease

Using a mixture of behavioral experiments, behavioral genetics, functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography, and statistical modeling, we aim to uncover cognitive and brain processes involved in learning and to describe the changes that affect learning in aging and neurodegenerative disease.

Selected publications

Thibault, S., Py, R. Garvasi, A.M., Salemme, R., Koun, E., Lövdén, M., Boulenger, V., Roy, A.C., & Brozzoli, C. (2021). Tool use and language share syntactic processes and neural patterns in the basal ganglia. Science, 374, 6569.

Lindenberger, U., & Lövdén, M. (2019). Brain plasticity in human lifespan development: The exploration-selection-refinement model. Annual Review of Developmental Psychology, 1, 197-222.

Lövdén, M., Karalija, N.,Andersson, M., Wåhlin, A., Axelsson, J., Köhncke, Y., Jonasson, L. S., Rieckman, A., Papenberg, G., Garrett, D. D., Guitart-Masip, M., Salami, A., Riklund, K., Bäckman, L., Nyberg, L., & Lindenberger, U. (2018). Latent-profile analysis reveals behavioral and brain correlates of dopamine-cognition associations in older age. Cerebral Cortex, 28, 3894-3907.

Lindenberger, U., Wenger, E., & Lövdén, M. (2017). Towards a stronger science of human plasticity. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 18, 261-262.

Lövdén, M., Schaefer, S., Noack, H., Bodammer, N.C., Kühn, S., Heinze, H.J., Düzel, E., Bäckman, L., & Lindenberger, U. (2012). Spatial navigation training protects the hippocampus against age-related changes during early and late adulthood. Neurobiology of Aging, 33, 620.e9-620.e22.

The effects of education on cognitive performance and health throughout life

Education is the major way through which individuals in modern societies learn complex skills and education can have great influences on health and wellbeing that last into older age. Using natural experiments of educational attainment and complementary behavioral experiments, our ongoing work aims to understand the pathways through which education relates to cognitive skills, well-being, and health in older age.

Selected publications

Seblova, D., Fischer, M., Fors, S., Johnell, K., Karlsson, M., Nilsson, T., Svensson, A. C., Lövdén, M., & Lager, A. (2021). Does prolonged education causally affect dementia risk when adult socioeconomic status is not altered? A Swedish natural experiment on 1.3 million individuals. American Journal of Epidemiology, 190, 817-826.

Lövdén, M., Fratiglioni, L., Glymour, M., Lindenberger, U., & Tucker- Drob, E. (2020). Education and cognitive functioning across the lifespan. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 21, 6-41.

Seblova, D., Berggren, R., & Lövdén, M. (2020). Education and Age-related Decline in Cognitive Performance: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Longitudinal Cohort Studies. Aging Research Reviews, 58, 101005.

Berggren, R., Nilsson, J., Brehmer, Y., Schmiedek, F., & Lövdén, M. (2020). Foreign language learning in older age does not improve memory or intelligence: Evidence from a randomized controlled study. Psychology and Aging, 35, 212-219.

Lager, A., Seblova, D., Falkstedt, D., & Lövdén, M (2017). Cognitive and emotional outcomes after prolonged education: A quasi-experiment on 320 182 Swedish boys. International Journal of Epidemiology, 46, 303-311.