Our laboratory is currently conducting two lines of research, both related to aspects
of cognitive aging:
In one project, we are investigating the effects of cognitive aging on language processing. More specifically, our research investigates the structure and function of developmental changes in the ability to attend to, comprehend, and remember text. As we grow older, we experience both gains in crystallized abilities (e.g., knowledge) and declines in fluid abilities (e.g., processing speed). Our laboratory investigates how these changes affect our cognitive and language abilities. This area of research is of high importance because language ability remains a crucial skill throughout the entire lifespan, yet much remains to be discovered about aging and the influence of (a) external factors such as text structure, text difficulty, or reading environment, and (b) internal factors such as reader goals, reader knowledge, or reader beliefs. This is a large set of factors yielding many exciting avenues for discovery. We employ numerous experimental and quantitative methodologies to investigate our research questions, including computer-based methods and eye-tracking equipment.
In another project, we are investigating the benefits of physical exercise on cognitive abilities and health-related knowledge acquisition in older adults. This research, which has been funded by the Retirement Research Foundation and the Kentucky Science & Engineering Foundation, seeks to understand whether 10-week interventions which combine familiar games such as Bingo with simple physical exercises can produce improvements in aspects of cognition and health knowledge. This work is a collaboration with researchers in Exercise Sciences and Computer Science, in which we gather pre- and post-intervention data on older adults participating in a 10-week app-based program of Bingocize®. This research also employs numerous experimental and quantitative methodologies.
For more information on this lab, or to inquire about working in this lab, contact Dr. Matthew Shake.
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