Talk:Paul Baltes

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Paul B. Baltes, born in 1939 in Saarlouis, Germany, is director of the Center of Lifespan Psychology at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, and professor of psychology at the Free University of Berlin. He received his doctorate from the University of Saarland (Saarbrücken, Germany) in 1967. Ernst E. Boesch, the cultural psychologist and one of Piaget's students, was his mentor.

Baltes spent 15 years as professor of psychology and human development at several American Institutions and as a multiple fellow at the Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (1977-78, 1990-91, 1997-98).

Baltes is best known for his contributions to (a) creating the field of lifespan psychology, (b) the psychological study of wisdom, (c) research on cognitive aging and the plasticity of the aging mind, (d) social scenarios concerning the future of old age and an aging society, and (e) the articulation and testing of models of successful development and aging. Together with his late wife, Margret Baltes, he proposed a theory of successful development that characterizes adaptive lifespan development as the orchestration of three processes: selection, optimization, and compensation.

Another signature of Baltes' career are his many roles in interdisciplinary organizations and science policy. For instance, he is active in the US Social Science Research Council (from 1996 until 2000 he was chair of its Board of Directors), the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, the European Academy of Science, and the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina (where he serves as Vice-President since 2000). Regrading interdisciplinary work, Baltes is engaged primarily in two projects: Together with Karl Ulrich Mayer he directs the Berlin Aging Study and, together with the sociologist N. Smelser, he is co-editor-in-chief of the 26-volume International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences (Elsevier) which is scheduled to appear in 2001.

Baltes is author or editor of 15 books and more than 250 scholarly articles and chapters. For his work, Baltes has been honored with numerous awards, including honorary doctorates (Jyväskylä, Stockholm, Geneva) and election as foreign member to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Among the awards are the International Psychology Award of the American Psychological Association (1995), the Kleemeier Award of the Gerontological Society of America (1991), the German Psychology Award (1994), the Aristotle Prize of the European Federation of Psychological Association (1997), the Novartis Prize of the International Association of Gerontology (1999), and in 2000 jointly with M. Baltes, the Longevity Prize of the IPSEN Foundation. In 2000, Baltes was elected to the Order Pour le mérite of the Sciences and the Arts.

This man is mentioned repeatedly in my psychology textbooks, and is multiply credited (above) with several theory developments, including theories of aging, wisdom, and lifespan development. When/if someone else has the time to expand, the above bio. is a good starter.→ R Young {yakłtalk} 07:15, 13 November 2006 (UTC)


There are quite a few references for this article. One doesn't need obituaries to make an article referenced.Ryoung122 04:09, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

The problem is with a preposition. It's not enough that "[t]here are quite a few references for this article...." [Emphasis added.] The reference(s) have to be put IN the article. I don't doubt that there are suffient references to establish notability. Any wikipedia editor can find them and insert them into the article, preferably as footnotes. But saying, or even knowing, that the references exist is not enough. They must be cited in the wikipedia article to establish wiki-notability.David in DC (talk) 21:42, 4 August 2010 (UTC)
Please leave the article alone until we get a third opinion. There's no hurry. Thanks. David in DC (talk) 21:54, 4 August 2010 (UTC)

Third opinion: This talk page is for discussing the Paul Baltes article, and no others. If you two have issues elsewhere, this isn't the appropriate place for them. I will therefore give my third opinion based on the edits on the page. Baltes is a notable person and it can be verified. Now having said that, the articles should contain more inline citations than are given, and the links listed under References really shouldn't be there. But there are a whole lot of books that mention Baltes, and this article really could be built up a fair amount. And this article does really read like a memorial and it shouldn't. Baltes himself is notable, but the article needs to be brought up to neutrality. — HelloAnnyong (say whaaat?!) 14:23, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

Thank you. I'll be guided by your opinion.David in DC (talk) 19:47, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

Potential source[edit]

I found a lot of people mentioning his work, not sure how to appropriately incorporate that into the article at this time, but here is a biography from a reliable source:

Proposed Revision to "Overview Section" and an Addition[edit]


   Life span developmental psychology is the consistency and change of behaviors that happen throughout the course of life (birth to death).  Baltes argues that there are six key features which impact human development across the lifespan: (1) life- long development, (2) multidirectionality and multidimensionality; (3) growth and decline (gain/loss), (4) plasticity; (5) historical embeddedness; and (6) contextualism. (Baltes, 1987)

6 Principles of Lifespan Development

   1. Lifelong development: a system of diverse change patterns that occur during certain times (some in the beginning of life, adolescence, adulthood, older adulthood, etc). Developmental tasks are problems, challenges, and life adjustment situations that occur as a person becomes older and experiences different things in life.  (Baltes, 1987)
   2. Multidirectionality and multidimensionality: concepts of development that aren’t constricted by a single definition of development in terms of functionality.  (Baltes, 1987)
   3. Growth and decline (gain/loss): all points of a life course are a joint expression of positive (gain) and negative (loss) developmental change, but do not occur at equal levels.  The concept of loss does not mean that a person has lost all aspects of a developmental change, or something that they once gained,  but has possibly regressed in some way.  An example would be gaining the ability to run a mile in six minutes by the age of twelve, but by the age of fifty it takes 12 minutes to run a mile.  There is still the ability to run a mile, but a loss in the amount of time. (Baltes, 1987)
   4. Plasticity: an individuals potential for different developmental forms or behaviors.  Three aspects of plasticity are: baseline performance- a persons ability to perform a task without previous knowledge or training; baseline reserve capacity- the upper range of a person's performance ability with intervention and measured by maximum performance tests; developmental reserve capacity- when conditions are added to a test that strengthen a person's baseline reserve capacity. (Baltes, 1987)
   5.  Historical Embeddedness: the relation between individual and evolutionary development. Individual development is governed by ontogenesis (origin) and factors of current process of biological change. Intelligence changes with age, and history or cohort time. (Baltes, 1987)
   6. Contextualism: distinct patterns of individual occurrence and sequencing are the regulators of the nature of change in adulthood. Contextualism suggests that there is a general conception of development.  (Baltes, 1987)

Proposed Revision to Applications of Plasticity[edit]

Recently, researchers have been analyzing how the absence of one of the six senses may be compensated by another sense. The two most commonly studied senses are vision and audition (hearing). In one study, five blind adults (two females and three males) were asked to turn their head towards the direction of a sound that was played for them. The results showed that the audition of the blind sunjects was generally more accurate than that of sighted subjects in previous studies. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Cwest364 (talkcontribs) 19:39, 29 November 2012 (UTC)