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Department of Psychology Cognitive Aging and Dementia Lab

Welcome!

My research program has utilized cognitive science paradigms to evaluate attention, memory, and executive functioning issues in both neurologically normal (i.e., younger and older adults) and clinical populations (e.g., traumatic brain injury survivors, dementia patients). The long-term goal of my research programs is to help bridge cognitive science and cognitive rehabilitation and to extend the functional independence of individuals with cognitive impairment. If you are a student and interested in getting involved, please email: schmitter-e@wsu.edu.

Cognitive Aging and Dementia Neuropsychology Laboratory

The goal of this research program is to develop cognitive interventions that will help older individuals with progressive neurological disorders (e.g., AD, PD) delay functional disability and increase their quality-of-life. Participants in many of our studies are healthy older adults and early-stage dementia patients who complete standardized neuropsychological tests and cognitive experimental tasks that assess different cognitive skills (e.g., memory, problem-solving). We are currently investigating the relationship between memory deficits and everyday functional disabilities, and experimenting with several interventions and smart environment technologies to help persons with dementia compensate in their daily lives for declining memory.

Traumatic Brain Injury Neuropsychology Laboratory

Difficulties with memory, attention and complex problem-solving are common cognitive problems that can occur after someone experiences a traumatic brain injury (TBI). By bridging basic science research with rehabilitation techniques, our work is designed to help persons with TBI overcome cognitive difficulties. Participants in our studies complete standardized neuropsychological tests and cognitive experimental tasks that assess many different types of cognitive abilities. In conjunction with St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute in Spokane, we are currently investigating the recovery process of several important cognitive abilities (e.g., time perception, prospective memory, self-monitoring, and metamemorial abilities) following a TBI. We are also evaluating the efficacy of using a simulated community environment in rehabilitation (e.g., facsimiles of grocery store, cross walk, restaurant) and the efficacy of a newly developed diagnostic instrument administered within the simulated community.

Get Involved:

Memory in Older Adulthood and Dementia Research Program

We are seeking individuals who are age 50 years or older who are currently experiencing no memory problems, mild memory problems or who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. We are examining different types of memory abilities and how they relate to activities that older adults are involved with everyday. The project goal is to better understand memory disorders in older adulthood and to develop programs to help with those difficulties.

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