David A. Balota, PhD, Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences and Neurology. His research interests focus on the cognitive changes that occur in later life, with special emphasis currently on attention, processing speed, and memory. He conducts research related to both healthy aging and Alzheimer’s disease.
Deanna M. Barch, PhD, Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences and Radiology (Chairperson) is a leading expert on various psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and depression, and how the consequences of these disorders may change in older adults. She directed the pilot project for the recently funded Lifespan Human Connectome project, and is co-Investigator on the full Human Connectome Project Aging, which will afford considerable resources for those interested in studying the aging.
Ryan Bogdan, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences, Genomics, and Neurosciences, investigates how genetic variation and environmental exposures contribute to individual differences in psychiatrically-relevant brain, biomarker, and behavioral phenotypes across the lifespan, from before birth to older age. His laboratory uses a variety of methods (e.g., molecular genetics, family designs, neuroimaging, blood-based analyses, behavioral tasks, and self-report) and he has significant experience acquiring large datasets and conducting secondary data analyses in large samples with neuroimaging data. He co-leads (with Dr. Thomas Oltmanns) a community-based longitudinal sample (n=1,630) of individuals ages 62-72 evaluating longitudinal associations between biomarkers, environmental exposures, and health.
Todd S. Braver, PhD, Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences, has a long-standing research program investigating the neural mechanisms of cognitive control. His work on age-related changes in cognitive control has found important distinctions between proactive and reactive forms of control, with older adults showing a tendency to shift from proactive to reactive. He is also exploring how aging impacts motivational factors that influence decisions about whether to engage in effortful forms of cognitive control. In collaborative projects with Jonathan Peelle, he is investigating the role of motivation and cognitive control in the domain of speech comprehension. Finally, he is interested in how motivation and cognitive control impact emotion regulation in younger and older adults, and those with depression (via a large-scale collaborative project with Tammy English and Renee Thompson).
Julie M. Bugg, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences. Her research examines the interaction of learning, memory, and cognitive control mechanisms primarily in the context of healthy aging. Her research has elucidated conditions under which older adults’ cognitive control performance approximates that of younger adults (i.e., age-related sparing of reactive control), in addition to conditions under which older adults’ performance is worse (i.e., age-related decline of proactive control). Her present research is focused on understanding what components of reactive control are spared and why, and how this sparing might be harnessed to mitigate age-related declines in task performance. She has also conducted research on aging and prospective memory, cognitive training, and behavioral biomarkers of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.
Brian D. Carpenter, PhD, Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences and Medicine. His research focuses on dynamics among older adults, their family members, and healthcare professionals. He is investigating these dynamics in the context of dementia (e.g., understanding of and communication about biomarkers) and end-of-life care (e.g., advance care planning).
Ian G. Dobbins, PhD, Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences, studies memory retrieval, decision making, and attentional control via behavioral, computational, and neuroimaging techniques. He has recently focused on how external cues or hints are integrated with memory information during judgment, and in the functional significance of the natural language that subject use to justify their memory decisions. Both topics are relevant for understanding potential impairments and compensatory mechanisms during healthy memory aging.
Tammy English, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences, examines how emotion regulation operates and develops across adulthood, including delineating its effects on social functioning, physical health, and psychological well-being. In her recent research, she has been testing how individual differences in cognitive and social resources predict emotion regulation patterns in daily life, and how mild cognitive impairment and depressive psychopathology may interfere with normative age-related improvements in emotional well-being.
Leonard Green, PhD, Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences and Economics, studies choice and decision-making, issues of impulsivity and self-control, and behavioral economics. His research, conducted with Research Professor Joel Myerson, examines age-related differences in the discounting of gains and losses, both delayed and probabilistic, across the life span.
Jason Hassenstab, PhD is an Associate Professor in the departments of Neurology and Psychological & Brain Sciences. He studies cognition in aging and dementia, with a specific focus on very early changes in Alzheimer’s disease. His laboratory, the Cognitive Technology Laboratory (CTRLab) uses technology, including smartphones, wearables, and web-based approaches to improve cognitive assessment in observational studies and clinical trials. His recent work uses principles from ecological momentary assessment and measurement burst designs to capture daily cognitive assessments on smartphones in older adults at risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
Denise Head, PhD, Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences and Associate Professor of Radiology, has a research program that examines cognitive and brain changes that accompany aging with a particular focus on spatial navigation, environmental and lifestyle factors that moderate age effects on cognitive and neural systems, and the earliest detectable behavioral and neural markers in early-stage Alzheimer disease.
Patrick Hill, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences, studies how dispositional characteristics predict healthy aging and development across the lifespan. His research focuses on how individuals find a purpose or life direction, the implications of feeling purposeful for health and cognitive aging outcomes, as well as the potential bidirectionality in these associations. His research employs longitudinal datasets capturing development during childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and older adulthood, allowing his lab to investigate the influence of early life experiences on later life outcomes.
Joshua Jackson, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences, studies the development and assessment of personality across the lifespan. His research focuses on what are the best methods to assess personality, whether these methods differ in veracity across age, and how personality influences important life outcomes, such as physical/cognitive aging and the transition to retirement. His research routinely employs longitudinal datasets that span from midlife to older adulthood.
Mark A. McDaniel, PhD , Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences, focuses on prospective memory, aging, and the application of memory training techniques. His work addresses frontal and medial temporal contributions to memory changes in healthy aging, and also has recently explored the influence of genetic predispositions (Apolipoprotein allele4) on prospective memory in healthy older adults. He and his students and colleagues also have published on the neural underpinnings of prospective memory. McDaniel completed a RCT NIA grant investigating the unique and combined influence of cognitive and exercise training in older adults, and is currently an investigator on a NIA grant to develop a training protocol to improve Parkinson’s Disease patients’ prospective memory.
Thomas Oltmanns, PhD, Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences, focuses on work related to personality disorders and the self-knowledge of such disorders, along with the consequences of such disorders on health and social adjustment. He directs a large longitudinal study of participants from a representative, ethnically diverse (33% African-American), community-based sample of 1,630 persons between the ages of 62 to 72 which affords an examination of the relation among personality, health, stress, and social adjustment. At the biological level of analysis, three mechanisms are being considered: neuroendocrine functioning (cortisol); immune system functioning (inflammation); and chromosomal stability (telomere length).
Zachariah M. Reagh, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences, studies the cognitive and neural underpinnings of memories, and how aging affects these mechanisms. He uses behavioral and neuroimaging techniques (including multivariate pattern analyses and high-resolution fMRI) to study the way the hippocampus and connected cortical systems construct, store, and retrieve representations of events, and how different subregions of these cortico-hippocampal systems are differentially impacted by healthy and pathological aging such as Alzheimer’s disease. His recent work also involves machine learning and computational modeling techniques.
Henry L. Roediger III, PhD, Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences, was Chair of the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences from 1996 until 2004. He is a leading figure in the study of memory. His work has explored the mechanisms underlying both veridical and false memories that occur in healthy older adults and in early stage Alzheimer’s Disease. He and his collaborators have also explored distinct cognitive mechanisms and their relation in a large cross-sectional study. He has recently been exploring collective memory across the generations, focusing on how younger and older adults differentially remember life experiences.
Mitchell S. Sommers, PhD, Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences, interests relate to basic auditory function and speech perception in aging and Alzheimer’s disease. He has most recently been focusing on the extent to which speech perception changes as a function of more perceptual mechanisms vs. more attentional mechanisms, and how such changes contribute to false hearing effects. He also collaborates extensively with individuals at the Central Institute for the Deaf on auditory visual integration in speech perception (e.g., the McGurk effect) and with faculty in Romance Languages and Literatures on factors affecting second language vocabulary acquisition.
Renee J. Thompson, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences, researches the everyday emotional experiences of adults. She is a co-principal investigator on an NIA R01 project examining how neural and motivational mechanisms of age-related change in emotion regulation vary based on depressive psychopathology. Her research routinely uses experience sampling with age diverse samples. She also incorporates a variety of other methods, such as assessing peripheral physiology and longitudinal designs.
Kristin Van Engen, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences and Assistant Professor of Linguistics, studies the perceptual and cognitive mechanisms that underlie speech communication in the face of acoustic-phonetic variability. She is guided by particular concerns for how linguistic experience shapes speech perception, recognition, and comprehension and how signal-intrinsic (e.g., accent) and signal-extrinsic factors (e.g., noise) interact to modulate the success of communication. Dr. Van Engen is especially interested in understanding and ameliorating the difficulties that arise in older age, when sensory and cognitive changes make individuals particularly sensitive to communicative challenges.
Jeffrey M. Zacks, PhD, Professor and Associate Chair of Psychological & Brain Sciences, and Professor of Radiology, studies event comprehension and spatial navigation across the lifespan. His laboratory uses converging cognitive neuroscience measures, including computational modeling and functional MRI, in healthy young adults, older adults, and people with early Alzheimer’s disease. One current interest is improving memory encoding for everyday events.