Current Research

Binge Drinkings Effect on Inhibition

Over 38 million adults within the U.S. binge drink and greater than 90% of the amount of alcohol consumed by America's youth is through binge drinking (CDC, 2008). Binge drinking is defined as consuming as much alcohol within about 2 hours that blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels reach 0.08g/dL. For women, this usually occurs after about 4 drinks, and for men, after about 5 (NIAAA, 2004). When considering how prolonged alcohol abuse can lead to reduced inhibition functioning, one needs to ask if these findings can be extrapolated to those who abuse alcohol through the means of a binge drinking pattern. This study looks to assess the relationship between binge drinking and inhibition through various inhibition paradigms. Participants are to be assessed at base-line and a one-year follow up while documenting their drinking habits over the course of the study. Additionally, at follow up, event-related potentials (ERPs) using the inhibition paradigms will help assess neural correlates of potential cognitive deficits that may result from binge drinking. The aim of this study is to shed light on the potential dangerous drinking habits young adults (e.g., college students) through an innovative combination of assessment techniques.

Arithmetic in the Bilingual Brain

The purpose of this study is to investigate arithmetic processing in the brain of individuals who are bilinguals. It has been mentioned that we only think in one language when we do the math and that certain aspect of math is language-dependent in comparison to language-independent. Our study will try to replicate a model that has been widely used and will add to that model another paradigm to test for language interference thus trying to observe individuals on how their thought process maybe while doing arithmetic in both Arabic and Verbal code. With data collected from this study, we can further our investigation into another paradigm of language switching. Language switching has been tested on bilingual individuals who tend to switch their language to their primary language of learning the concept to solve the arithmetic problem at hand, or having a first language advantage.


Previous Research

Cultural bias in Neuropsychological Testing

American society is characterized by diverse cultural groups. Culture in its broader concept refers to a group of beliefs and norms that are common to an ethnic group. In everyday language, the word “ethnicity” refers to "minority issues" and "race groups", but in social anthropology, it refers to aspects of relationships between groups which consider themselves, and are considered by others, as being culturally distinctive. Cultural factors can affect cognitive assessments since these assessments use elements that are not shared by all cultures. For example, in many tests speed is required for successful completion of the task. However, speed and competitiveness are not necessarily valued for all cultures. In some cultures, good outcomes are the result of a slow and careful process.

Cultural bias for neuropsychological tests has been suggested for minority groups in the US. For example, African Americans have been found to exhibit lower scores on measures of abstract reasoning, speed of information processing, and verbal memory compared to European Americans. Differences in language test scores between Hispanic and European Americans have also been reported. Therefore, cultural aspects can affect neuropsychological test performance including, among others, education and language. The neuropsychology lab at FAU in collaboration with other faculty from Florida International University and from the FAU College of Nursing has been interested in studying cultural differences in neuropsychological test performance.

Age-related changes in executive function

The goal of this study is to investigate the effects of advanced age on three executive functions (EF): cognitive flexibility, attentional control, and planning. The differential trajectories of executive decline will be studied as well as other variables that might mediate the relationship between age and EF.

Posture and visual-spatial short term memory in ADD/ADHD

This experiment looks to compare visual-spatial short term memory in young adults with Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder (ADD/ADHD). This developmental disorder is characterized by fidgety behavior. The aim of this study is to further characterize in-seat postural adjustments, relative to the head and neck, and determine to what extent this may decrease short-term memory span in hyperactive populations.

Cognitive contributions to social reasoning

The main goal of this study is to gain a better understanding about the cognitive skills required for reasoning about social situations. Theory of mind (TOM) will be studied in normal adults as well as the relationship between TOM and executive functioning.

Psychophysiology of emotions in HIV

In a joint collaboration with Nova Southeastern University, the second study looks to utilize Electroencephalography (EEG) measures to assess the effect of images with negative emotional connotation on a decision-making task. This research question is of significance to populations with HIV as the ability to manage emotions is found to be linked to drug adherence and subsequent quality of life.


Contact Information:

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Attn: Monica Rosselli

Telephone: (954) 236-1108  Fax: (954) 236-1099