Mara Mather, PhD
Professor of Gerontology and Psychology
At the core of our sense of self and personal history are emotional memories. Although emotional or stressful experiences tend to be memorable, emotional arousal can also impair various aspects of memory. In recent years, research into arousal and memory has focused on the key role of the amygdala in enhancing perception and memory of emotionally arousing stimuli. But enhanced memory for arousing information is only part of the story—there is also abundant evidence that arousal enhances some aspects of memory while impairing other aspects. In our lab, we are testing the theory that arousal enhances high-priority neural representations but suppresses low-priority neural representations of stimuli. We also are examining how age-related changes in inhibitory processes affect the influence of arousal.
Kaoru Nashiro, PhD
Research Associate Professor
Current Research Interests: My research interests include understanding the underlying mechanisms of emotional well-being, emotion regulation, cognitive control, interoception and mindfulness across the adult lifespan.
Collaborating Research Scientists
Post Doctoral Scholars
Martina D’Agostini, PhD
Post Doctoral Scholar
Current Research Interests: I am particularly interested in studying the effects of non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) on the locus coeruleus activity. Specifically, my most recent work has focused on the effects of transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (tVNS) and slow deep breathing in young adults. Currently, I aim to test and compare the effects of tVNS on the LC in young and older adults. I am also particularly interested in revealing potential demographic differences in LC integrity by looking at demographic differences in LC MRI contrast.
Post Doctoral Scholar
Current Research Interests: How decision making interacts with emotion and how that interaction is modulated by developmental stages, how activity in the locus coeruleus affects memory and attention, employing various research methods to better measure emotion and cognition.
Current Research Interests: Interventions to improve autonomic function, specifically increasing parasympathetic activity, to enhance regulatory control of brain regions involved in emotion and cognition in older adults.
Current Research Interests: Understanding interactions between emotion and decision making, particularly in aging, using behavioral, physiological and neuroimaging techniques.
Current Research Interests: The effects of aging on memory and cognition; the relationship between emotion, stress, and behavior; neuropsychological effects of trauma.
Current Research Interest: Utilizing Structural Equation Modeling to investigate the underlying mechanisms of psychophysiology across age; specifically, how heart rate variability can affect cognition (memory, attention) and subjective well-being. Examining survey and assessment psychometric properties for test efficacy.
Hyun Joo Yoo, PhD
Current Research Interests: The relationships between brain function, physiological response, and emotion regulation. Effects of arousal on memory and cognition.
Former Lab Members’ Websites and Publications
PhD Candidate, University of California, Los Angeles (Publications)
Briana Kennedy, PhD
Tenure-Track Lecturer, School of Psychological Science, University of Western Australia (Webpage)
Marisa Knight, PhD
Associate Professor, Psychology Department, University of San Francisco (Webpage)
Deanna Novak Carey, PhD
User Experience Researcher, Google (Linkedin)
Phil Opitz, PhD
Research Science Leader, Amazon (LinkedIn)
Shai Porat, PhD
Senior Clinical Project Manager, RapidAI (LinkedIn)
Jo Ann Sison, PhD
Principal UX Researcher at Johnson & Johnson, Robotics and Digital Solutions (LinkedIn)