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The Fordham Memory and Aging Lab examines different aspects of cognition and health across the adult lifespan. Our research focuses on age-related differences in memory and cognition, individual differences in autobiographical memory, as well as differences in normal and pathological aging. Our research also focuses on the role of subjective well-being across adulthood in order to develop a more comprehensive understanding of cognition and health during the adult lifespan.

Recent News

April 2023- Congratulations to Dr. Neshat Yazdani for successfully defending her dissertation entitled, "A Person-Centered Approach to The Study of Psychological Well-Being in Emerging Adulthood"!! 

April 2023- Graduating seniors, Maggie Boros, Natalie Fermoselle, and Alex Schandlbauer presented their research at the annual Integrative Neuroscience Showcase. 

April 2023- Graduating seniors, Giovanna Rafanello, Alexa Mancini, and Emmeline Brzeczek presented their research at the annual Psychology Honors Tea/Colloquium. 

March 2023- Our research in mentioned in an article in The Atlantic

May 2022- Graduating seniors, Veronika Kobrinsky, Zuzanna Smurzynska, Alexandra Trant, and Julianna Scofield presented their research findings at the Annual Psychology Honors Tea/Colloquium. 

May 2022- Graduating senior, Radha Jadoo, presented her findings at the annual Integrative Neuroscience showcase.

December 2021- Congratulations to Annalee Mueller for the publication of her Honors thesis in the International Journal of Aging and Human Development!


March 2021- Congratulations to Dr. Jillian Minahan Zucchetto for successfully defending her dissertation entitled "Social Isolation and Loneliness Among Adults Aged 50 Years and Older in the United States: An Analysis of the Cognitive Discrepancy Theory"!!

November 2020 - Lab members presented a 5-part symposium, entitled, "Findings From the Virginia Cognitive Aging Project: Individual Differences, Well-Being, and Cognition" at the 2020 Gerontological Society of America Annual Meeting.


Our Research
Current Projects

Current Projects

Positivity Effect

The positivity effect refers to the finding that older adults remember or attend to more positive (as compared to negative information) as compared to younger adults. Research has consistently demonstrated a positivity effect in laboratory setting using words or pictures. Previous work in our lab failed to find evidence of the positivity effect across age with the selection of autobiographical memories (Siedlecki, Hicks, & Kornhauser, 2015) and across different types of memories (voluntary and involuntary; Siedlecki, Minahan Zucchetto, & Yazdani, under review). However, we are currently examining participant memories of the 2020 U.S. presidential election outcome across two time points and our preliminary results provide some evidence of the positivity effect across age. Notably, levels of depressive symptoms significantly partially mediate the relationship between age and the positivity of the memory, suggesting that mood may play a role in explaining the relationship.

Autobiographical memory

We have several on-going studies examining autobiographical memories. Language and visual perspective project: There is evidence that consistency in self-concept between current self and self in a memory may affect whether a first-person or third-person visual perspective is taken in an autobiographical memory.  Self-concept has also been shown to be influenced by language in bilingual or multilingual individuals. The purpose of this project is examine whether language concordance between encoding and retrieval will have an effect on the visual perspective taken in autobiographical memories. False memory and visual perspective project: Previous research has demonstrated that memories viewed from a third-person visual perspective (in which one can see themselves in a memory) are similar to false memories in terms of ratings on phenomenological characteristics. The purpose of the current project was to examine whether the tendency to view memories in the third-person perspective is associated with making memory distortions. Our results indicate that taking a third person visual perspective was not significantly related to making memory errors. Autobiographical memory recall as an intervention to increase feelings of well-being project: Autobiographical memories are hypothesized to have three main functions: identity (self), social, and directive. The directive function of AM has been demonstrated in an array of studies. For example, Biondolillo and Pillemer (2015) asked participants in an experimental condition to retrieve an autobiographical memory in which they had a positive or negative experience related to exercising. Eight days later participants completed a self-assessment of exercise during the prior week. Participants who retrieved a positive memory associated with exercise at Time 1 reported higher levels of exercise during the prior week at Time 2 compared to participants in the control condition who were not asked to retrieve a memory associated with exercise. This effect was evident even after controlling for baseline levels of exercise, motivation, and attitudes. The purpose of the proposed study is to extend previous work and examine whether a brief autobiographical memory intervention in college students can enhance feelings of well-being during the subsequent week.

The COVID-19 Cognition Project

While the initial variant of COVID-19 was characterized as a predominantly respiratory disease, subsequent research has provided evidence of neurological and brain structure changes in COVID-19 survivors. A recent report from the CDC shows that approximately one in five individuals with COVID-19 report experiencing long COVID-19 (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022). These individuals experience residual symptoms and ongoing health challenges for weeks or months post infection. Most of the research on cognitive sequalae of COVID-19 infection has focused on individuals requiring inpatient health care (but see Guo et al., 2022). Recent work in our lab with a sample of participants with less severe symptomatology found that that there were no significant differences between the COVID-19 positive participants and those in the COVID-19 negative control group on performance on the cognitive tasks. However, within the COVID-19 subsample, those with long COVID-19 reported significantly greater impairments in subjective cognition (i.e., self-reported difficulties with memory, attention, concentration) compared to those without long COVID-19 (Kobrinsky et al., 2024). However, there remains a gap in the literature examining how COVID-19 infection impacts cognitive functioning in individuals presenting with less severe symptoms. We are currently collecting data examining the impact of long COVID-19 on different aspects of objective cognition (episodic memory, working memory, executive functioning, processing speed, and reasoning) and self-reported cognitive functioning.

Recent Presentations

Recent (In-Person)Presentations

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COVID-19 Illness and Cognitive Functioning in a Community-dwelling Sample of Adults 

Veronika Kobrinsky, Elissa Aminoff, Francesca Falzarano, Jillian Minahan Zucchetto, Neshat Yazdani, Maggie Boros,  Natalie Fermoselle, & Karen L. Siedlecki











COVID-19  Pandemic-related Stress and Subjective Well-being: The Moderating Role of Social Resources

Neshat Yazdani, Francesca Falzarano, Jillian Minahan Zucchetto, & Karen L. Siedlecki 


Multicultural Competence of Pre-employment Police Evaluations: How Police Psychologists Conduct Assessments
Giovanna Rafanello & Karen L. Siedlecki 

The Relationship between Dimensions of Colorism and Body Image

Tasmin Neha & Karen L. Siedlecki  




Relationship between COVID-19-Induced Taste and Smell Loss and Cognitive Functioning

Maggie Boros & Karen L. Siedlecki



Examining the Role of Subjective Age in Subjective and Objective Cognition

Natlie Fermoselle & Karen L. Siedlecki


Association for Psychological Science (APS) May 2023 – Washington, DC

Eastern Psychological Association (EPA) 2022 – New York, NY

The Temporal Relationship between Depressive Symptoms and Self-rated Health across Adulthood

Veronika Kobrinsky, Ahang Leqola, Jordan Sergio & Karen L. Siedlecki

Which Variables Moderate the Relationship between Depressive Symptoms and Neurocognition across Adulthood? 

Jordan Sergio & Karen L. Siedlecki


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Gerontological Society of America (GSA) 2019 – Austin, TX

Examining the Relationship Between Cognitive Functioning and Subjective Well-Being Across Age

Francesca Falzarano, Jillian Minahan, Neshat Yazdani, Timothy A. Salthouse, & Karen L. Siedlecki





Investigating the Relationship Between Social Support and Cognition as Mediated by Health and Positive Affect

Francesca Falzarano, Karen L. Siedlecki & Timothy A. Salthouse

The Society of Research on Memory and Cognition (SARMAC) 2019 – Cape Cod, MA

Differences in Voluntary and Involuntary Memories across Age
Jillian Minahan, Neshat Yazdani, Eunice Jung, Devin D’Agnostino, Travis Aprile, Lis Ortiz, & Karen L. Siedlecki

The goals of the current study were to examine 1) differences in ratings of phenomenological memory characteristics between voluntary and involuntary memories using the shortened Memory Experiences Questionnaire (sMEQ), and 2) whether age influences ratings of voluntary and involuntary memory characteristics. The sample comprised younger (n=48) and older (n=23) adults who retrieved voluntary memories in a laboratory setting and recorded involuntary memories for seven days. Consistent with previous research, differences in phenomenological ratings between voluntary and involuntary memories were identified. Furthermore, differences in memory characteristics between younger and older adults for both memory types were also identified.

Relationships Among Autobiographical Memory Qualities and Non-Clinical Mood Characteristics     
Emily McFadden & Karen L. Siedlecki

Much of the literature surrounding mood and memory compares depressed individuals with a healthy control group and suggests that those with a clinical level of depressive symptoms lack a bias for positive memories (Young, Erickson, & Drevets 2012; Begovic et al.,2017). This study examines whether the findings can be replicated in non-clinical samples. It was hypothesized that decreased depressive symptomology, more positive mood/affect, and greater satisfaction with life would predict more positive memories. Participants (N =144) with an average age of 27.74 (SD=4.63) completed a survey assessing these variables and retrieved six autobiographical memories. All correlations are in the directions hypothesized, with some significance. The established relationships between mood and memory are supported by these findings. However, it does not appear that these relationships exist to the same degree in non-clinical samples. 




The International Neuropsychological Society (INS) 2019 – New York, NY


Examining Processing Speed as a Predictor of Subjective Well-Being Across age and Time in the German Aging Survey
Karen L. Siedlecki, Neshat Yazdani, Jillian Minahan, & Francesca Falzarano

Subjective well-being is a construct that comprises life satisfaction, positive affect, and negative affect. Research has shown that these components are differentially related to age. Cognition has been shown to be related to subjective well-being. The purpose of the current study was to both the cross-sectional and the longitudinal relationships between processing speed and subjective well-being. In cross-sectional samples, results showed that processing speed was a weak, but consistent predictor of positive affect, while age was associated with decreases in negative affect. Conversely, cross-lagged analyses showed that the temporal relationship between processing speed and positive affect was close to zero, and non-significant. The results of this study shed additional light on the relationship between subjective well-being and cognition.


Examining Sex Differences in Neurocognitive Functioning Across Adulthood
Karen L. Siedlecki, Francesca Falzarano, & Timothy A. Salthouse

Recent debate surrounding the lack of proportionate representation of women in science-related fields has included the examination of neurocognitive differences between the sexes (Berenbaum & Resnick, 2007). Data from the Virginia Cognitive Aging Project (VCAP), a prospective study of neurocognitive functioning in community dwelling adults between the ages of 18-99 years, were used (N=5,125) were to address the following goals 1) examine gender differences in neurocognitive functioning across adulthood, and 2) examine whether age moderates the gender effect on neurocognitive functioning. Participants completed 16 tests within five domains of cognition: episodic memory, processing speed, reasoning, spatial ability, and vocabulary. Latent variable analyses revealed that men and women had similar structural relations, with evidence of configural and metric invariance for a five-factor model of neurocognitive functioning. Next, a model with gender as a predictor of the five latent neurocognitive constructs (and age, education, and self-rated health as covariates) fit well. In this model, women performed better on memory    (β= .18*), and speed (β= .11*), and worse on spatial ability (β= -.17*). Gender was not significantly related to vocabulary or reasoning. There was no evidence of age moderation except for vocabulary; gender was a significant predictor (β= .14*) of vocabulary in the younger group, but not in the other two age groups.


How Much Variance in Neurocognitive Functioning in Older Adults can be Explained by Neuroimaging Markers of Brain Volume and Small Vessel Cerebrovascular Disease?
Francesca Falzarano, Karen L. Siedlecki, Batool Rizvi, Mariana Budge, Juliet Colon, Kay Igwe, Nicole Schupf, Jennifer J. Manly, Richard Mayeux, & Adam M. Brickman

The variance shared among cognitive constructs can be referred to as the g factor. Several neuroimaging variables have been proposed to account for the variance in neurocognitive functioning (g). Although the predictive validity of these factors is often examined in isolation, many of these variables are related to one another. As such, it is useful to examine the influence of multiple neuroimaging measures simultaneously in order to identify unique influences on g. Thus, the goal of the current study was to examine the age-related neuroimaging correlates of g in older adults. Participants (N= 524) were between the ages of 62- 96 years who are part of Wave III of the Washington Heights-Inwood Columbia Aging project, a prospective longitudinal study of cognition in a community-based sample. The sample comprised 31.1% non-Hispanic White, 36.3% African American, and 30.0% Hispanic participants. Participants completed a battery of neuropsychological tests that were administered in their preferred language (English or Spanish) to assess memory, language, visual-spatial ability, and reasoning. A multiple indicators multiple causes (MIMIC) structural model was used to evaluate how much variance in g can be accounted for by six neuroimaging variables including relative total brain volume (TBV), cortical thickness, total white matter hyperintensities volume, presence of infarct, total microbleeds, and total fractional anisotropy. Within the non-Hispanic White and African American subsamples, the neuroimaging variables accounted for 23.9% and 19.2% of the variance in g, with TBV and cortical thickness having the largest relationships with g. The neuroimaging variables accounted for substantially less variance in g (6.3%) in the Hispanic subsample.


Socialization and Memory Performance across Age
Francesca Falzarano & Karen L. Siedlecki



New England Psychological Association (NEPA) 2018 – Worcester, MA

Menstrual Cycle Phase Differences in Cognition and Autobiographical Memory Phenomenological Characteristics
Erin Hunt, Jillian Minahan, Neshat Yazdani, & Karen Siedlecki

The menstrual cycle can be divided into two phases which are accompanied by differing levels of female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone. This study examined the effect of menstrual cycle phase on cognition and autobiographical memory. Analyses revealed no significant difference between menstrual cycle phases on tests of cognition or autobiographical memory characteristics, suggesting that autobiographical memory recall and cognitive abilities remain consistent throughout the menstrual cycle in healthy college-aged females.


Exploring the Relationship Between Menstrual Distress Symptomology and Autobiographical Memory Phenomenological Characteristics
Erin Hunt, Jillian Minahan, Neshat Yazdani, & Karen Siedlecki

This study examined whether experience of menstrual distress symptomology during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle is associated with autobiographical memory characteristics. Results suggest that heightened experience of menstrual cycle symptoms is associated with greater vividness and emotional intensity, greater clarity in time perspective, and more positively valenced autobiographical memories recalled. We conclude that experience of menstrual cycle symptoms is related to the phenomenological characteristics of autobiographical memories that participants chose to recall across testing sessions.




We are currently collecting data for a research study examining cognitive functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Participants will be asked to meet with a research team member on Zoom to complete several cognitive tasks, including measures of short-term memory, working memory, processing speed, executive functioning, and reasoning. Participants will also be asked to complete an anonymous on-line questionnaire investigating COVID-19 illness and symptom history, non-identifiable sociodemographic factors, and several facets of physical and mental health. The entire study will be completed at one time and will take approximately 45-60 minutes to complete.


To participate, you must be at least 18 years of age, fluent in English, and currently residing in the United States. You may participate in this study even if you have never had COVID-19.


Upon completion of the study, eligible participants will receive a $15 electronic Amazon gift card, delivered via e-mail.

If interested in participating, click here. 

Contact us below (or email us at if you would like additional information. 



Fordham University

441 East Fordham Road

Dealy Hall 226

Bronx, NY 10458

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