School of Psychology
Audrey Duarte and her team are investigating what specific age-related changes in prefrontal cortical cognitive control processes contribute to associative memory impairments. They also investigate how emotion, stress, and exercise can improve memory functioning in young and older adults.
They use multiple experimental techniques, such as behavioral testing, electroencephalography (EEG), functional neuroimaging, and neuropsychological studies of humans with focal brain damage to address these questions. Students who work in Duarte's lab receive excellent training in some of the most innovative human neuroscience methods available.
We all experience associative memory failures like forgetting a person's name or where we parked the car. These failures occur with greater frequency as we age and they are also one of the early signs of Alzheimer's disease. With the rapidly increasing population of older adults, it is of vital importance to understand the cognitive and neural mechanisms that underlie these failures. Once we understand what is underlying these mechanisms, we can develop targeted interventions to improve memory functioning in older adults and potentially reduce the likelihood of further cognitive decline.