Current studies:

  • HeartBEAM (Breathing Effects on Attention and Memory) Study: We are studying how you can train your brain and heart to influence your memory, attention and overall brain health. We will investigate whether we can accelerate brain training by being in a more or less alert versus relaxed state during the training. Over 12 weeks, you will engage in a training geared toward boosting brain health from the comfort of your home and will only visit the lab 5 times. If you are an adult between the age of 50-70, have no cognitive impairment, are proficient in using a computer, have good heart health, are not regularly practicing meditation, and have no metals in your body, you may be eligible. Learn more about our study and sign up here:
  • Context Learning in the Aging Brain: This is a USC research study about how our brains learn values. To maintain our own health and financial welfare, it is crucial that we make appropriate economic decisions. However, some of us make more disadvantageous decisions in some environments. Your participation could help uncover which processes in the brain are involved in learning values and making decisions. This study involves completing some questionnaires and computerized tasks, and requires a single visit to USC campus. Please feel free to contact us at to find out more about our study and how to participate in it.
  • FitSitt Study: The purpose of this study is to develop components of an in-home active seating system, called FitSitt, and test it to see if it is feasible to use and acceptable to older people. We aim to produce a comfortable-to-use, sedentary activity solution for older adults and countless others who could benefit from introducing more movement into their daily lives. To participate in this study, we are looking for older adults (65+ years old) who are healthy enough to do light activity, and who live in the Los Angeles area. You will be compensated for your time. Find out more about the study at Contact us at or call us at (949) 829-2669.
  • Understanding America Study: This study aims to test recruitment materials for the Understanding America Study through cognitive interviews with members of the general public.

Past studies:

  • Emotion & Attention Brain Imaging Study:  The purpose of the study is to better understand the role of the locus coeruleus in cognitive and emotional function in healthy aging and Alzheimer’s disease. The locus coeruleus is a small brainstem region that is involved in responses to stress and emotion and related to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Heart Rate Biofeedback Study:  This study is investigating whether heart rate biofeedback helps to improve functioning of cardiovascular control systems that help regulate emotions, improves well-being and reduces stress, anxiety, and depressed feelings.  For details and to sign up:
  • Muscle Exertion & Digits Study: The Emotion & Cognition Lab is looking for adults between the ages of 65 and 85 to participate in a study examining how muscle exertion affects cognitive function. Half of participants will repeatedly squeeze a therapy ball in each hand. All participants will then perform a task in which they hear digits and make responses about them. The study lasts 1.5 hours and involves several physiological measurements and computer-based tasks. If interested, please email for more information.
  • Emotion & Memory MRI Study:  The Emotion & Cognition Lab is looking for adults 60 years and older to participate in a brain imaging study examining how emotional responses influence memory and brain function. The study involves a one-hour MRI brain scan and completion of some memory tasks. If interested, please email for more information.
  • Optimization Principles in Hemiparetic Gait:  The purpose of this study is to understand how people control walking and balance. We are looking for healthy older adults who are interested in joining the study. Participants will walk on a treadmill while using an interactive display that will help them modify their walking pattern. We will determine how these modifications influence oxygen consumption during walking and measures of balance. If interested, please contact the Locomotor Control Lab at

Our research groups are investigating what can be done to maintain healthy minds and bodies as we age, such as the studies listed on this page. Would you like to help?