Welcome to the Cognitive Aging Lab

Our lab investigates which cognitive and neural systems decline and which are spared in the course of healthy aging. We focus especially on implicit learning and memory, processes that can occur without intent or awareness. We are working to understand why some forms of learning and memory decline while others are maintained, how these age differences are related to changes in the brain, and how learning and memory can be maximized across the lifespan. Most of our work has used behavioral techniques, but we also use neuroimaging tools such as fMRI and DTI (Diffusion Tensor Imaging) to investigate these research questions.

Current research in our group examines the interaction between different forms of implicit learning and:

- genotype

- environmental factors (e.g., stress, time of day, sleep)

- individual differences (e.g., in reading ability, expertise, intrinsic neural circuitry) 

- interventions (e.g., nature, exercise) 

- neurological disorders

For the past decade, all of our research has been done in collaboration with Jim Howard and his lab at The Catholic University of America. Our work has been funded since 1978 by the National Institute on Aging, including two MERIT awards. We are also affiliated with the Georgetown University and MedStar Rehabilitation Institute's Center for Brain Plasticity and Recovery