Thank you for your interest in our research. Our lab uses state-of-the-art scientific tools and methods to explore how the brain functions, with a focus on the interface between attention and memory.
We are also very interested in understanding how the brain develops throughout childhood, changes with normal aging, and how these changes impact our cognitive abilities.
Furthermore, we are attempting to use this information to develop novel therapies to alleviate memory and attention deficits, including those associated with normal aging and early dementia.
All participants are compensated for the time that they commit to our studies.
Compensation is determined by length of time and type of experiment and is generally $15/hr for behavioral and EEG experiments and $20/hr for TMS, TES, and fMRI.
Studies by tool
Our lab uses several different research tools to study cognition. What all of our studies have in common is that you will be performing memory and attention experiments that require you to observe images presented on a computer screen and make responses with a button press; similar to playing a video game. What follows is a description of the types of studies you may be appropriate to participate in:
Behavioral studies. Some of our experiments are purely behavioral. This means that you sit before a computer, watch images on a computer screen and respond to different tasks by pressing a button. During these experiments we do not record brain activity, just your button pad responses.
- EEG studies. Several experiments in the lab use EEG to record electrical brain activity while you engage in attention and memory experiments that are presented on a computer screen. These studies are performed at the Gazzaley lab on the Mission bay campus.
- fMRI studies. In some of our experiments, we record brain activity using an MRI scanner.fMRI, or functional MRI, allows us to see both the structure of your brain and brain activity. These experiments are performed at the Neuroscience Imaging Center (NIC).
- TMS studies. TMS is a magnet that can be used to stimulate areas of the brain during our experiments to better determine the function of those brain regions. These studies are performed at the Gazzaley lab on the Mission bay campus.
- TES studies. Transcranial electrical stimulation uses a low-voltage electrical current to modulate the brain's cortical excitability, resulting in enhanced or suppressed neural activity in the brain region of interest. These studies are performed at the Gazzaley lab on the Mission bay campus.
Studies by population
Research in our lab is directed at understanding how the brain functions in general, as well as how it changes with development throughout childhood and in aging. Therefore, we conduct studies on participants from different age groups.
- Children and adolescents. We perform studies on individuals between the ages of 8-17, including healthy children and children with attentional deficits
- Healthy young adults. We perform studies on individuals between the ages of 18-35.
- Healthy older adults. We perform studies on healthy older individuals between the ages of 60-80 to investigate healthy brain function.
- Concerned older adults. Older adults (55 y.o. and older) with concerns about their memory and/or attention abilities are evaluated by Dr. Gazzaley and then when appropriate enrolled in our research studies.
Studies by type
- Observational. Many of our studies involve only the recording of button responses and brain activity to better understand how the brain works and how it changes with age.
- Interventional. Some of our studies are directed at therapeutic interventions that attempt to maintain or improve memory and attention abilities that have declined with age. Two studies currently being performed are:
- 1) Cognitive training: Healthy older adults are trained at home on a computer program for one month before and after they are studied in our lab with EEG. This is a research study performed in collaboration with Posit Science,
- 2) Aricept treatment: Older adults that have been diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) are treated with three months of Aricept (cholinesterase inhibitor), while they perform an fMRI experiment (at three time points) at the NIC.
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