Feindel Brain and Mind Seminar Series: Modifiable Factors Affecting Neural Decline in Aging: The roles of context and experience

Wednesday, April 19, 2023 16:00to17:00
Montreal Neurological Institute De Grandpre Communications Centre, 3801 rue University, Montreal, QC, H3A 2B4, CA

Register here.

Stream via vimeo here.

John Anderson

Assistant Professor, Cognitive Science, Carleton University, Canada

Abstract: Most studies exploring cognitive ability across the lifespan collapse across individual differences and contexts. At this moment, one may find older adults perform worse than younger adults. However, human cognition is not a timeless singularity. It is dynamic and responds to both context and experience and the complex interplay of the two. Exploring these factors promises to reveal the rich spectrum of human ability across the lifespan and challenges what we think of as "normal" performance and aging. My research program uses behavioral and neuroimaging techniques in concert with multivariate analyses to explore how context and experience alter evoked brain and behavioral responses. A particular focus of my program is the spectrum of ability in aging, a poignant topic given North America's current demographics. Our population is aging, and more of us will need to know how to interpret a neuropsychological test, whether for a parent, a spouse, or ourselves. My research program underscores the need to accommodate environmental factors such as time of day, and experiential factors leading to cognitive reserve, such as second-language use. Across two parallel lines of research, I ask how experiences and changes in context modify age differences in cognitive control, and what this means for how we define typical cognitive performance.

Bio:Dr. John Anderson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cognitive Science and cross-appointed to the Department of Psychology at Carleton University and a Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Cognition and Wellness. Dr. Anderson is the Principal Investigator of the Cognition and Neuroscience of Aging Lab. Dr. Anderson also holds a status-only appointment as an Assistant Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto and is an Affiliate Scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). Dr. Anderson has a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Toronto. He completed post-doctoral training in research on bilingualism and cognitive reserve at York University and advanced neuroimaging and the links between depression and dementia in older adults at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

The Feindel Brain and Mind Seminar Series will advance the vision of Dr. William Feindel (1918–2014), Former Director of the Neuro (1972–1984), to constantly bridge the clinical and research realms. The talks will highlight the latest advances and discoveries in neuropsychology, cognitive neuroscience, and neuroimaging.

Speakers will include scientists from across The Neuro, as well as colleagues and collaborators locally and from around the world. The series is intended to provide a virtual forum for scientists and trainees to continue to foster interdisciplinary exchanges on the mechanisms, diagnosis and treatment of brain and cognitive disorders.


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The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) is a bilingual academic healthcare institution. We are a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering high-quality patient care, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. We are proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.



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