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The many faces of human ageing: toward a psychological culture of old age1

  • Paul B. Baltes (a1)


In an effort to distil major findings about the nature of human ageing, seven propositions are presented as a guiding frame of reference. This propositional framework is then used to specify some conditions for a positive culture of old age and to advance one possible model of good psychological ageing. This model focuses on the dynamic interplay between three processes: selection, optimization, and compensation. The model is universal in its basic features, but at the same time emphasizes individual variations in phenotypic manifestation.


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1Address for correspondence: Dr Paul B. Baltes, Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Education, Lentzeallee 94, D-1000 Berlin-W33, Germany.


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This paper was presented as the keynote lecture (Festvortrag) of the Annual Meeting of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Sciences, in June 1989 at Wiesbaden, FRG (Max Planck Society Yearbook, 1989).



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