Neurocognitive function in older adults

"Working with the Parkinson’s data has helped me solidify my knowledge of statistical packages such as SPSS. The lab has a strong mentorship culture which facilitates the total growth of the students working in it. It is a very positive environment which feeds any student who is willing to put in the work. In addition I am learning the basics of command line scripting in terminal."

Supervising Faculty: Kirk Erickson, PhD

Contact: Kirk Erickson, PhD, (412) 624-4533,

Area of Research:  Cognitive, Health & Biological

Description of Research: The studies being conducted in the lab examine cognitive functions affected by aging and the neural correlates associated with cognitive impairment. Furthermore, our lab is interested in health factors that moderate age-related neurocognitive decline including physical activity, diet, and cardiovascular risk factors.  We use behavioral, physiological, and MRI measures.  We also conduct studies on individuals with psychiatric and neurologic conditions and examine how health related factors influence cognitive and brain integrity in these populations.

Duties of Students: The specific duties are flexible and depend on the interests and amount of time that the student has to dedicate towards the lab. However, responsibilities generally include reading relevant research articles, participation in the running of subjects, subject recruitment, analyzing and organizing data, entering information into spreadsheets, and participating in lab meetings. Advanced students may also pursue a project of their choice using existing data. A minimum of a 2 term commitment is required.

Additional Requirements:

  • Overall GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • 12 credits of Psychology (including current term)
  • STAT 0200/1000/1100 Statistics
  • PSY 0036 Research Methods Lecture
  • PSY 0037 Research Methods Lab
  • 2-term commitment

Terms offered: fall, spring and summer

Number of Students: 2