Hofer & Piccinin, 2010. Toward an integrative science of lifespan development and aging.


The study of aging demands an integrative life-span developmental framework, involving interdisciplinary collaborations and multiple methodological approaches for understanding how and why individuals change, in both normative and idiosyncratic ways. We highlight and summarize some of the issues encountered when conducting integrative research for understanding aging-related change, including, the integration of results across different levels of analysis; the integration of theory, design, and analysis; and the synthesis of results across studies of aging. We emphasize the necessity of longitudinal designs for understanding development and aging and discuss methodological issues that should be considered for achieving reproducible research on within-person processes. It will be important that current and future studies permit opportunities for quantitative comparison across populations given the extent to which historical shifts and cultural differences influence life-span processes and aging-related outcomes.