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Federico Mayor Zaragoza José María Medina Helio Carpintero Álvaro Giménez Cañete Rocío Fernández-Ballesteros Kaare Christensen Linda S. Gottfredson María Ángeles Quiroga Alicia Salvador Rosa Gómez-Redondo María Dolores Puga González Margaret L. Kern Rikke Lund Lourdes Pérez Ortiz José Manuel Ribera Casado José Bermúdez

Longevity and behaviour: Do behavioural factors intervene in longevity?

Life and Matter Sciences International Symposium March 1 and 2, 2018 Madrid

General information

Venue: Fundación Ramón Areces, C/ Vitruvio, 5. 28006. Madrid
Limited capacity

  • Simultaneous interpretation
  • Free registration

Organized by:

Fundación Ramón Areces

In cooperation with:

Academia Psicología de España, Fundación General CSIC


Rocío Fernández-BallesterosAcademia de Psicología de España. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

  • Description
  • Programme

Aging is a phenomenon occurring at both population and individual level which requires thorough interdisciplinary research, with psychology being one of the disciplines contributing to its study. Essentially, psychology deals with age as a differentiating factor and therefore studies the effects of aging on the individual or group of individuals psychological functioning (attention, cognition, emotion, etc.). The essential goal of psychology is to optimize human functioning throughout a lifetime by promoting optimal and healthy aging, as well as preventing potential motor, cognitive and/or emotional deficiencies, if necessary compensating for negative effects and, as the ultimate goal, increasing the individual's well-being and quality of life.

While the exponential increase in life expectancy since the mid-nineteenth century and the continuation of this trend has been surprising, it has been explained through the socio-economic, educational and technological developments that have taken place, as well as through the focus on the differences between groups of developed and developing countries in terms of their organization and socio-political systems. But it should also be noted that all this highlights the success of individuals in a number of "good practices", using the terms of Christensen et al., which have led, in approximately 150 years to a doubling of life expectancy at birth (and even more so in Spain in just the twentieth century), taking it close to the estimated potential lifespan limit for our species and furthermore to an improvement in lifetime living conditions.

On the whole, explanations for the unexpected phenomena of life expectancy and survival appear to favour environmental above genetic reasons. Among others, Vaupel points out that population analyses "indicate that genetic differences between individuals account for 20-25% of variation in lifespan "which, in effect, allows us to estimate that 75-80% are attributable to environmental conditions, without specify in what extent behaviours is an important factor of the environment. This is also supported when examining the inter-individual and generational differences in intellectual functioning throughout the twentieth century, the cross-sectional or the longitudinal studies in which the drop-out effect is examined, as well as the studies of cognitive epidemiology. But experimental studies show that modifications requiring "good practices" in programs developed to promote healthy lifestyles are also associated with behavioural and personality traits such as consciousness, emotional stability and positivity. From a transactional socio-cognitive perspective (see: Bandura, 1986) it is plausible to see behavioural factors being responsible to some extent for longevity and survival.

This International Symposium, which brings together important national and international figures, will be dedicated to a profound reflection on this new approach to examining the relations between psychology and aging.

Thursday 1


Opening Session

Federico Mayor Zaragoza
Fundación Ramón Areces.

Helio Carpintero
Academia de Psicología de España. APE.

José María Medina
Fundación Ramón Areces.

Álvaro Giménez Cañete
Fundación General CSIC.


Longevity and Behavior: An Introduction

Rocío Fernández-Ballesteros
APE, UAM. España.


Life styles and longevity

Kaare Christensen
Danish Ageing Research Center. Denmark.








 Optimism, positive affect and Longevity

Alicia Salvador
APE, Universidad de Valencia. España. 


Extreme Longevity and vital trajectories: Findings in case studies

Rosa Gómez-Redondo
Instituto Mixto de Investigación (IMIENS-UNED). España.




Round table 

María Dolores Puga González

Christensen, Gottfredson, Quiroga,
Salvador, Gómez-Redondo.


General discussion

Friday 2



Social Relationships predicting longevity

Rikke Lund
Department of Public Health & Center for Healthy Aging. Denmark.


Cultural Stereotypes and behaviors

Lourdes Pérez Ortiz 
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. España.




Adherence to treatment

José Manuel Ribera Casado
Universidad Complutense de Madrid. España.


Round table

José Bermúdez
APE, UNED. España.

Kern, Lund, Ribera, Perez Ortiz, Fernández-Ballesteros


General discussion


Closing remarks
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