Cognitive Aging and Dementia Neuropsychology Research
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 Research
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.