• The Center mourns the loss of a dear friend and tireless CVL supporter. click here

  • CVL councilmember and benefactor’s life remembered in the Dallas Morning here

  • Aging-themed issue of Nautilus Magazine explores cognitive benefits of learning a new game such as chess, cites here

  • ‘Fitizen’ group at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas learns about research at CVL. click here

  • CVL research published in JoN finds that some memories persist in the face of strong interference. click here

  • Dr. Sara Festini’s research probes busyness levels and cognitive here

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CVl Annual Review

CVl Annual Review

Charting Our Progress is CVL’s annual review, with archives available

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New Federal Funding Supports Memory Research at CVL


DALLAS – August 18, 2016 – The laboratory led by CVL director Dr. Michael Rugg has recently been awarded grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA).

Totaling nearly $1 million, the grants will help fund novel investigations into memory across the lifespan, focusing on studies that compare the brain activity supporting memory in young and healthy older adults. The NSF award of approximately $544,000 spans three years while around $421,000 from the NIA will be spread over two years.

The NSF award will support research on memory for specific events (episodic memory), which is highly vulnerable to aging. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), Dr. Rugg and his colleagues will examine brain activity associated with episodic memory retrieval in groups of young and older adults.

Current research shows that although the accuracy of episodic memory is highly age-sensitive, the subjective experience of remembering is less affected. Indeed, older individuals are more likely than young people to report a strong sense of recollection in association with inaccurate memories. “Older individuals are at greater risk than the young of making erroneous yet highly confident memory judgments,” Dr. Rugg says. “The research will investigate the potential causes of this age-related dissociation between ‘objective’ and ‘subjective’ measures of episodic memory.”

The NIA-funded project will use fMRI in concert with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to investigate the neural underpinnings of a specific aspect of memory known as “post-retrieval monitoring” – cognitive processes that support the evaluation of information retrieved from memory in relation to current behavioral goals.

In previous work, Dr. Rugg and his colleagues have reported that the brain networks supporting monitoring function equivalently in young and older adults. They predict that age-related impairment in monitoring will be evident, however, when these networks are “stressed,” either by imposing extra processing demands on the networks or by their temporary disruption through “neurostimulation” with TMS.

“Cognitive decline steepens as people reach their late-60s,” notes Dr. Rugg “In light of the rapidly increasing proportion of the population entering older age, research into the causes and mediators of age-related cognitive decline is a high priority. We are excited to have received this support, which will enable us to take our research in memory and aging in new and innovative directions,”

Founded in 2010, CVL is a research center of the University of Texas at Dallas, with scientists studying the cognitive neuroscience of aging and ways to maintain cognitive health for life. Researchers at CVL also investigate how to slow cognitive aging and methods for the early detection of age-related neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s. Other research includes studies investigating the cognitive neuroscience of memory, and other fundamental cognitive processes.