BBQ ProSeminar: September 23, 2022 (ONLINE ONLY)

Dr. Nichole Lighthall, Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Central Florida

Online Only (Passcode: 2022)

Faculty Profile

Title: Memory-dependent decision making in the aging brain

Abstract: From everyday choices about food and socializing, to major decisions in domains such as health, career, family, and finances — value-based decision making shapes the direction and quality of our lives across the lifespan. Such decisions frequently involve learning and memory functions that exhibit different trajectories of change with normal brain aging. For this reason, understanding age-related changes to decision making requires examining decision processing involving different memory functions. My talk will highlight work from three functional magnetic resonance imaging studies of memory-dependent decision making in healthy aging. These studies examine age differences in neural mechanisms of value-based decision processing involving: working memory, episodic memory, and procedural memory. Results across these studies highlight the conditions under which older brains are likely to exhibit patterns of age-related functional decline (e.g., dedifferentiation) versus resilience (e.g., compensation).

Speaker bio: Dr. Nichole Lighthall is an Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Human Factors and Cognitive program. She holds a B.A. in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in gerontology from the University of Southern California. Dr. Lighthall completed her postdoc in the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Duke University and was a postdoctoral fellow in the Duke Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development. The goal of her research is to develop a neural model of decision processing in human aging that can be used to identify age-related vulnerabilities and pathways to compensation. She is particularly interested in how age-related changes to cognitive and affective components of decision making impact decision processing and quality.

Note that students, staff, and faculty from all programs are welcome to attend.