Current Studies

We are actively recruiting participants for this study. If you are interested in participating or learning more, please contact us.

Cognitive Training and Neuroplasticity in Mild Cognitive Impairment (in collaboration with Columbia University and Duke University Medical Centers)

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is common in older adults and represents a high-risk group for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Advances in biomarker assessment have improved the early diagnosis of clinical AD but medication trials in MCI have generally failed. New discoveries about brain plasticity in aging have led to the study of cognitive training as a treatment to improve cognitive abilities. Computerized Cognitive Training (CCT) provides an exciting opportunity and a new strategy to improve cognitive performance in MCI. CCT involves computerized cognitive exercises that target specific abilities/neural networks to potentially improve cognitive functioning through neuroplasticity. In a two-site study (NYSPI/Columbia and Duke) supported by the National Institute on Aging (NIA; R01AG052440) we are randomizing 100 patients over the next five years with MCI to CCT (suite of exercises) or an active control condition (crossword puzzles). All participants will receive extensive neuropsychological assessments as well as MRI.

Cognitive Remediation in Speed of Processing (CRISP) Study

In collaboration with Peak –Brain Training ©, the CRISP study examines the effect of mobile cognitive training on mood, cognitive abilities, and everyday functioning among young adults with depressive symptoms. Participants download and play specific, targeted “brain games” over the course of 8 weeks on their mobile devices. Previous research has found this type of intervention to be effective for improving mood, cognitive abilities, and everyday functioning. The goal of study is to determine whether mobile cognitive training is an effective treatment for depressive symptoms that is both accessible and engaging.

Culture and Terror Management Theory Study

Terror management theory (TMT) posits that human beings—programmed for self-preservation and continued existence—are conscious of the inevitability of their own death. This mortality awareness engendered a deep sense of terror that has by and large propelled the creation of culture. Culture works to manage and assuage existential terror by imbuing the universe with order and higher meaning as well as by lending the belief that by adopting the values and social roles in one’s culture, one can achieve literal (e.g., via the afterlife) and/or symbolic (e.g., via children, money, or culturally valued accomplishments) immortality. Thus, according to TMT, when mortality is threatened or made increasingly salient, humans tend to more closely align with and promote the dominant views of their culture. As such, the goal of this study is to determine whether one’s level of acculturation into Western culture is likely to result in the identification of the host culture rather than the culture of origin when mortality is made salient. According to TMT, we predict that those with higher levels of acculturation will identify more with the ideals of Western culture whereas those with lower levels of acculturation will identify more with the views of their culture of origin.