Current Projects

Cognition in Older Adults

Through a partnership with the Institute for Dementia Research & Prevention at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, we are exploring predictors of cognitive change in cognitively healthy older adults and individuals with mild cognitive impairment. We also collaborate in this area with researchers in the Adult Development and Aging Laboratory led by Dr. Katie Cherry. These projects include:

  • Examining the ability of using specific memory scores on list-learning tasks to predict future cognitive decline.
  • Examining the impact of natural disaster on health, well-being, and cognition in adults and older adults.
  • Examining discrepancies in informant and subject report of daily functioning in healthy older adults and those with MCI.
  • Exploring how factors known to be associated with cognitive function predict functional changes in older adults with mild cognitive impairment.
  • Examining the benefit of a brief memory screening program to community dwelling older adults.

Psychometrics and Neuropsychological and Psychological Tests

We are conducting studies looking at the psychometric properties of popular neuropsychological and psychological tests. Some of this research involves using archival clinical data from the Psychological Services Center and Jefferson Neurobehavioral Group and data collection at the Baton Rouge Clinic. Current projects include:

  • Examining associations between measures of noncredible performance and self-report in clinical and forensic settings.
  • Examining practice effects on neuropsychological tests of attention.
  • Exploring the validity of existing neuropsychological measures in diverse clinical samples.
  • Comparing the predictive validity of multiple measures of everyday function in older adults with and without cognitive impairment.
  • Examining psychometric properties of self-report measures across the lifespan.

Technology and Assessment

Technology plays an ever-increasing role in modern functional and neuropsychological assessment. Our lab is actively involved in a number of research studies aimed at creating and validating computerized tools for use within a variety of clinical populations. Collaborations in this area include with Pennington Biomedical Research Center and the Computational Neuropsychology and Simulation Lab at the University of North Texas led by Dr. Thomas Parsons. These include:

  • Examining the effectiveness of incorporating a non-immersive virtual reality paradigm into functional rehabilitation for older adults with moderate cognitive impairment.
  • Piloting virtual reality as a quality of life intervention for older adults in assisted living facilities.

Ethnoracial Disparities in Cognitive Aging

We are conducting studies examining ethnic and racial disparities in cognitive aging. Collaborations in this area include Dr. Robert Newton at Pennington Biomedical Research Center. Current projects include:

  • Examining racial differences in the association between trauma symptoms and their impact on cognitive and everyday function. 
  • Evaluating the utility of a novel cognitive screening measure in a diverse sample of older adults.
  • Examining minority representation in neuropsychological research.

Psychological Symptoms and Cognitive Function

We are conducting studies examining how different psychological symptoms impact cognitive function. These efforts include on-campus recruitment of undergraduate participants through the Psychology department’s research participant pool (SONA) and involves using archival clinical data from the Psychological Services Center.

  • Examining patterns of neuropsychological test performance within and across anxiety and related disorders.
  • Exploring associations between personality and neuropsychological test performance.