A School of Psychology colloquium on Optimal Aging featuring George W. Rebok, Johns Hopkins University
Older adults are more likely to fear losing their cognitive abilities than their physical abilities. Fortunately, a growing body of research suggests that cognitive decline isn’t inevitable for most people as they age and may even be reversible through cognitive interventions. However, controversy and confusion still surround the effectiveness of cognitive training with older adults and its impact on everyday life function and psychological well-being.
This talk will focus on what the current research says about the effectiveness of various cognitive interventions for optimizing everyday function in the older population. Particular attention will be paid to skill-based interventions that target single or multiple cognitive abilities that are known to show significant age-related decline.
A major question to be explored is the degree to which cognitive training transfers to non-trained ability domains and daily life tasks. We will also explore the use of multimodal interventions that combine different intervention approaches such as skill-based cognitive training with intellectual engagement or stimulation approaches as a way of promoting greater transfer to daily life activities.
About the Speaker
George W. Rebok has a background in gerontology and cognitive aging, developmental psychology, prevention science, and public mental health, as well as postdoctoral training in cognitive neuropsychology, epidemiology, and biostatistics.
Research skills include extensive knowledge of aging and developmental theory and research, clinical experimental trial design, quantitative analyses of longitudinal data, and an ability to work collaboratively with multidisciplinary teams and research centers.
Since joining the Hopkins faculty in 1989, Rebok has pursued research in two interrelated areas:
- the design and implementation of preventive trials targeted at childhood antecedents of adolescent and adult psychopathology, including depression, early achievement problems, and poor concentration
- the neurocognitive predictors of functional abilities and decline in demented and nondemented older adults and their modifiability through interactive cognitive interventions
These two research streams converge around a common focus on attentional and cognitive parameters of maladaptive behavior; plasticity of functioning; perceived competence or self-efficacy as a variable linking physiological, psychological, and social function; and short- and long-term outcomes of preventive intervention and treatment.
About the Optimal Aging Initiative
The colloquium is part of the Optimal Aging Initiative of the School of Psychology at Georgia Tech. The initiative seeks to foster knowledge-sharing and collaboration in translating research on the effects of aging into evidence-based ways to support the quality of life and competence of older adults.
Reception to follow in Peachtree Room, Student Center