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 forces that govern human learning and to chart the origins of individual differences in learning in the context of lifespan development. Ultimately, we hope that the knowledge we gain will help humans to learn more successfully throughout life.

Learning in lifespan development

Using a mixture of longitudinal behavioral studies, behavioral genetics, functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography, and statistical modeling, we aim to uncover the processes involved in learning and chart the origin of individual differences in these processes.

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 association between education and cognitive performance throughout life

Education is the major way through which individuals in modern societies learn complex skills. Using longitudinal cohort studies, natural experiments of educational attainment and other early life circumstances, and complementary longitudinal learning studies, we aim to understand why educational attainment relates to cognitive ability throughout life.

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.