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Dr. Mike Martin

Managing Director and Professor for Gerontopsychology and Gerontology

Dr. Mike Martin is professor for the Psychology of Aging and for Gerontology at University of Zurich.

Languages : English


Dr. Mike Martin is professor for the Psychology of Aging and for Gerontology at University of Zurich. He manages several competence centers on gerontology, plasticity, and multimorbidity, and leads a university-wide interdisciplinary strategic research program on the “Dynamics of Healthy Aging” examining pathways to the stabilization of quality of life in old age. He is a founding member of the International Association of Longitudinal Studies on Ageing (IALSA) and principal investigator and collaborator of several international and cross-disciplinary longitudinal studies on healthy ageing.Martin is Board Member of the European Cognitive Aging Society (EUCAS), Science advisor of the European Society for Memory Training (EUVGT), Vice Director Swiss Senior Universities (U3), and Foundation Board Swiss Competence Center for the Social Sciences (FORS). He has served on the Editorial Board of the European Psychologist, European Journal of Ageing, and Gerontology.Martin serves in the Swiss Academies of Sciences Steering Group “Changing Health Care“, is a Co- Director of the Swiss Academy for Social Sciences and Humanities Working Group on Health and Quality of Life, and regularly participates in National Research Programs on health, aging, and health data.


A Tablet for Healthy Ageing: The Effect of a Tablet Computer Training Intervention on Cognitive Abilities in Older Adults
University of Zurich

2017OBJECTIVE: To test the efficacy of a tablet computer training intervention to improve cognitive abilities of older adults.

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No Evidence for Improved Associative Memory Performance Following Process-Based Associative Memory Training in Older Adults
University of Zurich

2017Studies attempting to improve episodic memory performance with strategy instructions and training have had limited success in older adults: their training gains are limited in comparison to those of younger adults and do not generalize to untrained tasks and contexts. This limited success has been partly attributed to age-related impairments in associative binding of information into coherent episodes. We therefore investigated potential training and transfer effects of process-based associative memory training (i.e., repeated practice). Thirty-nine older adults (Mage = 68.8) underwent 6 weeks of either adaptive associative memory training or item recognition training. Both groups improved performance in item memory, spatial memory (object-context binding) and reasoning. A disproportionate effect of associative memory training was only observed for item memory, whereas no training-related performance changes were observed for associative memory. Self-reported strategies showed no signs of spontaneous development of memory-enhancing associative memory strategies. Hence, the results do not support the hypothesis that process-based associative memory training leads to higher associative memory performance in older adults.

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Transfer after process-based object-location memory training in healthy older adults
University of Zurich

2016A substantial part of age-related episodic memory decline has been attributed to the decreasing ability of older adults to encode and retrieve associations among simultaneously processed information units from long-term memory. In addition, this ability seems to share unique variance with reasoning. In this study, we therefore examined whether process-based training of the ability to learn and remember associations has the potential to induce transfer effects to untrained episodic memory and reasoning tasks in healthy older adults (60-75 years). For this purpose, the experimental group (n = 36) completed 30 sessions of process-based object-location memory training, while the active control group (n = 31) practiced visual perception on the same material. Near (spatial episodic memory), intermediate (verbal episodic memory), and far transfer effects (reasoning) were each assessed with multiple tasks at four measurements (before, midway through, immediately after, and 4 months after training). Linear mixed-effects models revealed transfer effects on spatial episodic memory and reasoning that were still observed 4 months after training. These results provide first empirical evidence that process-based training can enhance healthy older adults' associative memory performance and positively affect untrained episodic memory and reasoning abilities.

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The last phase of life with dementia in Swiss nursing homes: the study protocol of the longitudinal and prospective ZULIDAD study
University of Zurich

2016BACKGROUND The proportion of older people with advanced dementia who will die in nursing homes is constantly growing. However, little is known about the dying phase, the type of symptoms, the management of symptoms and the quality of life and dying in people with advanced dementia. The ZULIDAD (Zurich Life and Death with Advanced Dementia) study aims at extending the current scientific knowledge by providing first data from Switzerland.METHODS The ZULIDAD study employs a prospective design to study nursing home residents with advanced dementia for three years or until their death in eleven nursing homes in Zurich. Observational data from quarterly questionnaires for relatives and primary nurses is combined with data from the Resident Assessment Instrument - Minimum Data Set (RAI-MDS). Special focus is put on 1) the cross-sectional analysis of baseline and post-mortem data regarding quality of life and quality of dying and how the perceptions of these measures differ between relatives and primary nurses, 2) the longitudinal analyses of established health outcome measures (e.g., EOLD, MSSE, BISAD, QUALID) in order to understand their trajectories and 3) international comparisons of cross-sectional and longitudinal data. DISCUSSION The ZULIDAD study is one of the few existing prospective studies on end-of-life care in dementia and it is the first prospective study to describe the situation in Switzerland. Its multi-perspective approach allows a comprehensive approximation to central health outcome measures at the end of life such as pain, suffering or quality of life. Providing insights into the current provision of care, it can serve as a basis for improving dementia end-of-life care in Switzerland and internationally.

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Multi-domain training enhances attentional control
University of Zurich

2016Multi-domain training potentially increases the likelihood of overlap in processing components with transfer tasks and everyday life, and hence is a promising training approach for older adults. To empirically test this, 84 healthy older adults aged 64 to 75 years were randomly assigned to one of three single-domain training conditions (inhibition, visuomotor function, spatial navigation) or to the simultaneous training of all three cognitive functions (multi-domain training condition). All participants trained on an iPad at home for 50 training sessions. Before and after the training, and at a 6-month follow-up measurement, cognitive functioning and training transfer were assessed with a neuropsychological test battery including tests targeting the trained functions (near transfer) and transfer to executive functions (far transfer: attentional control, working memory, speed). Participants in all four training groups showed a linear increase in training performance over the 50 training sessions. Using a latent difference score model, the multi-domain training group, compared with the single-domain training groups, showed more improvement on the far transfer attentional control composite. Individuals with initially lower baseline performance showed higher training-related improvements, indicating that training compensated for lower initial cognitive performance. At the 6-month follow-up, performance on the cognitive test battery remained stable. This is one of the first studies to investigate systematically multi-domain training including comparable single-domain training conditions. Our findings suggest that multi-domain training enhances attentional control involved in handling several different tasks at the same time, an aspect in everyday life that is particularly challenging for older people.

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Area of Expertise

Cognitive Ageing

Lifespan Development

Middle Adulthood

Resources and Skills in Everyday Life

Social Development In Old Age


Journal of Gerontopsychology and Geriatrics - Associate Editor

European Cognitive Aging Society (EUCAS) - Board Member

European Society for Memory Training (EUVGT) - Science Advisor

Swiss Senior Universities (U3) - Vice Director

Foundation Board Swiss Competence Center for the Social Sciences (FORS) - Vice Director

Editorial Board of the European Psychologist, European Journal of Ageing, and Gerontology - Member




Health and Wellness


Heidelberg University : Habilitation Venia legendi in Psychology

Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz :

University of Georgia : Educational Psychology

Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz : Psychology

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