Aiman Waris Receives Stamps President’s Scholarship

 

Stamps President's Scholarship

 

The Adult Cognition Lab wants to congratulate Aiman Waris, an undergraduate research assistant, on becoming a recipient of Georgia Tech’s prestigious Stamps President’s Scholarship!

Out of 15,000 applicants every year, the Stamps President’s Scholars Program selects 40 students who have demonstrated excellence in academics, leadership, and service to join the program for the entirety of their undergraduate education at Georgia Tech. Along with a full tuition waiver, Stamps President’s Scholars also receive one-on-one guidance from faculty guides, opportunities to represent Georgia Tech internationally, and $15,00 in funding for academic enrichment over 4 years. Upon graduation, Stamps President’s Scholars become a part of an elite network of alumni with connections to the world’s top businesses and graduate schools. You can read more about the Stamps President’s Scholarship at the program’s website.

Aiman is also a recipient of the President’s Undergraduate Research Award (PURA) which provides opportunities for undergraduates at Georgia Tech to engage in research while also receiving payment to do so. She will be continuing her research with the Adult Cognition Lab in the spring with funding by the PURA grant.

Congratulations again, Aiman! We are very proud to have you as a member of the ACL.

Recruiting Lab Undergrads for Spring 2017

Are you a Georgia Tech undergraduate who is looking to become a research technician for credit, experience, or both? Do you have a passion for working with older adults in the community? Look no further!

The Adult Cognition Lab (ACL) at the Georgia Institute of Technology is recruiting undergraduate research technicians for the fall semester. Students will be able to participate in high-level psychological research in exchange for 1 – 3 credit hours (Research Assistantship) with time commitments dependent on the number of credit hours signed up for.

As an undergraduate research technician with the ACL, you will have the opportunity to gain experience with (but not limited to):

  • Research in aging, memory, metamemory, and intelligence
  • Quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis
  • Statistical analysis (SAS, R, SPSS, etc.)
  • Interview techniques
  • Coordinating participants and sessions

Our current projects are exploring:

  • How university students’ casual reasoning is impacted based on knowledge and thinking styles.
  • How aging affects memory and whether it also affects older adults’ learning strategies and monitoring of memory performance.
  • Assessing older adults’ reported experiences with everyday memory failures, their common memory complaints, and the strategies they use to compensate for age-related changes in memory by conducting interviews.

If you are interested in working with us, please send an e-mail to Emily Lustig at elustig@gatech.edu.

New ACL publication: Acta Psychologica

Abstract

We propose that the domain general process of categorization contributes to the perception of stress. When a situation contains features associated with stressful experiences, it is categorized as stressful. From the perspective of situated cognition, the features used to categorize experiences as stressful are the features typically true of stressful situations. To test this hypothesis, we asked participants to evaluate the perceived stress of 572 imagined situations, and to also evaluate each situation for how much it possessed 19 features potentially associated with stressful situations and their processing (e.g., self-threat, familiarity, visual imagery, outcome certainty). Following variable reduction through factor analysis, a core set of 8 features associated with stressful situations—expectation violation, self-threat, coping efficacy, bodily experience, arousal, negative valence, positive valence, and perseveration—all loaded on a single Core Stress Features factor. In a multilevel model, this factor and an Imagery factor explained 88% of the variance in judgments of perceived stress, with significant random effects reflecting differences in how individual participants categorized stress. These results support the hypothesis that people categorize situations as stressful to the extent that typical features of stressful situations are present. To our knowledge, this is the first attempt to establish a comprehensive set of features that predicts perceived stress.

 

Lebois, L. A., Hertzog, C., Slavich, G. M., Barrett, L. F., & Barsalou, L. W. (2016). Establishing the situated features associated with perceived stress. Acta Psychologica, 169, 119-132.

Recruiting Lab Undergrads for Fall 2016

Are you a Georgia Tech undergraduate who is looking to become a research technician for credit, experience, or both? Do you have a passion for working with older adults in the community? Look no further!

The Adult Cognition Lab (ACL) at the Georgia Institute of Technology is recruiting undergraduate research technicians for the fall semester. Students will be able to participate in high-level psychological research in exchange for 1 – 3 credit hours (Research Assistantship) with time commitments dependent on the number of credit hours signed up for.

As an undergraduate research technician with the ACL, you will have the opportunity to gain experience with (but not limited to):

  • Research in aging, memory, metamemory, and intelligence
  • Quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis
  • Statistical analysis (SAS, R, SPSS, etc.)
  • Interview techniques
  • Coordinating participants and sessions

Our current projects are exploring:

  • How university students’ casual reasoning is impacted based on knowledge and thinking styles.
  • How aging affects memory and whether it also affects older adults’ learning strategies and monitoring of memory performance.
  • Assessing older adults’ reported experiences with everyday memory failures, their common memory complaints, and the strategies they use to compensate for age-related changes in memory by conducting interviews.

 

If you are interested in working with us, please send an e-mail to Emily Lustig at elustig@gatech.edu.

New ACL publication: Brain and Cognition

Abstract

Although the hippocampus is thought to play a central role in the regulation of the cortisol awakening response (CAR), results from past studies examining the relationship between the CAR and hippocampal-mediated memory and cognition have been mixed. Inconsistent findings may be due to the use of cortisol samples collected on only 1–2 days since reduced sampling can permit unstable situational factors to bias results. We used cortisol assessments from 10 consecutive days to test the relationship of the CAR to episodic memory, working memory, and processing speed in a sample of healthy young, middle-aged, and older adults (age range: 23–79 years; N = 56). We tested if the relationship between the CAR and cognition would depend upon age and also tested if other cortisol measures, specifically waking cortisol, diurnal cortisol output (i.e., area under the curve) and diurnal cortisol slope (linear and quadratic), would be related to cognition. We found that a more positive CAR slope was related to better episodic memory and that this relationship did not depend upon age. The CAR was not significantly related to working memory. The relationship of the CAR to processing speed was not significant when using a CAR measure that corrected for non-compliant cortisol sampling. We also found that higher waking cortisol was significantly related to better working memory, but not episodic memory or processing speed. Neither diurnal cortisol output nor diurnal linear cortisol slope was significantly related to cognitive functioning. Future work should investigate the mechanisms underpinning the relationship of the cortisol awakening process to cognitive functioning.

 

Ennis, G. E., Moffat, S. D., & Hertzog, C. (2016). The cortisol awakening response and cognition across the adult lifespan. Brain and Cognition, 105, 66-77.

Summer participants needed!

The Adult Cognition Lab is recruiting participants, both college-aged and older adults, for experiments that are being conducted over the summer. For Georgia Tech students, the ACL is offering course credit for those who participate in a 2-part study of memory for words and lists of words. For older adults in the Atlanta community, the ACL is offering financial compensation for those who are willing to be interviewed about everyday memory occurrences.

Check out our Current Projects page to learn more about these studies or go to our Contact Us page to get in touch with an experimenter.

New ACL publication: Gerontology

Abstract

Background: Previous studies have examined the relationships between physical health and leisure activities and between leisure activities and well-being, but, to our knowledge, none has examined these relationships simultaneously.

Objective: This study investigated the relationships between leisure activities, health and well-being considering the role of age, and whether leisure activities mediate the relationship between physical health and well-being.

Methods: Utilizing a cross-sectional database of 259 adults (ages 18–81 years) who completed several questionnaires, linear regression models and mediation models were tested. Results: Regression analyses indicated that physical health was related to leisure activities and leisure activities were related to well-being. When physical health was measured by subjective ratings, age had a stronger relationship with leisure activities. However, when physical health was indicated by health restrictions, physical health had a stronger relationship with leisure activities than did age. Leisure activities were a partial mediator of the relationship between physical health and well-being.

Conclusion: The results demonstrated that the reduction in leisure activities with age has more to do with physical health limitations than with older age itself. In addition, regardless of age, the benefits of physical health for well-being are due in part to the level of leisure activity participation. These results highlight the importance of leisure activities for successful aging throughout the adult life span. Interventions designed to improve well-being through increasing leisure activity participation should take physical health into consideration, particularly for older adults.

 

Paggi, M. E., Jopp, D., & Hertzog, C. (2016). The importance of leisure activities in the relationship between physical health and well-being in a life span sample. Gerontology, 62, 450-458.

New participation opportunities this spring!

The Adult Cognition Lab will be running two new experiments starting in April that require participation from adults in the community! We will be conducting interviews with older adults to learn more about the ways they manage memory challenges and problems in everyday life as well as examining how accurate people are in assessing whether they are likely to recognize information they are trying to recall, but cannot.

Check out our Current Projects page or go to our Contact Us page to get in touch with an experimenter.

New ACL publication: Memory & Aging

Abstract:

Value-based remembering in free-recall tasks may be spared from the typical age-related cognitive decline observed for episodic memory. However, it is unclear whether value-based remembering for associative information is also spared from age-related cognitive decline. The current experiments evaluated the contribution of agenda-based based regulation and strategy use during study to age differences and similarities in value-based remembering of associative information. Participants studied word pairs (Experiments 1–2) or single words (Experiment 2) slated with different point values by moving a mouse controlled cursor to different spatial locations to reveal either items for study or the point value associated with remembering each item. Some participants also provided strategy reports for each item. Younger and older adults allocated greater time to studying high- than low-valued information, reported using normatively effective encoding strategies to learn high-valued pairs, and avoided study of low-valued pairs. As a consequence, both age groups selectively remembered more high- than low-valued items. Despite nearly identical regulatory behavior, an associative memory deficit for older adults was present for high-valued pairs. Age differences in value-based remembering did not occur when the materials were word lists. Fluid intelligence also moderated the effectiveness of older adults’ strategy use for high-valued pairs (Experiment 2). These results suggest that age differences in associative value-based remembering may be due to some older adults’ gleaning less benefit from using normatively effective encoding strategies rather than age differences in metacognitive self-regulation per se.

 

Ariel, R., Price, J., & Hertzog, C. (2015). Age-related associative memory deficits in value-based remembering: The contribution of agenda-based regulation and strategy use. Psychology and aging, 30(4), 795.

 

External link