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UTSA psychologist awarded $1 million for memory research

University of Texas at San Antonio Assistant Professor of Psychology Rebekah Smith has been awarded a five-year, $1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study adult memory. To conduct the research, beginning in July, Smith will be recruiting younger adult volunteers aged 18-30 and older adults, aged 60 and above.

Smith, who directs the UTSA Cognitive Aging Lab, is studying prospective memory, the act of remembering to complete an intended action. Her research focuses on event-based prospective memory.

"The ultimate goal is to get a more basic understanding of how prospective memory works and how it is different for older adults aged 60 and above, and younger adults age 18-30," said Smith. "We will also look at developing techniques for improving prospective memory."

In the laboratory, participants engage in ongoing computerized tasks. Participants are also asked to make a different response to particular target items, such as a specific word, while performing the ongoing tasks.

"What we have found in previous studies is that older adults often miss more of those targeted words," said Smith. " We are investigating how age affects the cognitive processes involved in prospective memory, in order to improve prospective memory in young and older adults."

Once the laboratory studies are complete, Smith would like to have techniques developed that could apply in real-life settings to help improve prospective memory in older adults.


Contact: Kris Edward Rodriguez
University of Texas at San Antonio

Page: 1

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