Neuroimaging of Complex Motion in Young and Old Adults

Grants and Contracts Details


The long-term career goal of the candidate is to make significant scientific discoveries in cognitive neuroscience and to apply research findings to improving the health and mobility of the aging population. The immediate career objective is to become an independent researcher involved in cutting-edge research in the neuroimaging of human cognitive aging. The candidate has past research experience in cognitive neuroscience, but further training in cognitive aging theories and neuroimaging methods in aging are necessary to allow her to attain her career goals. The candidate will work with a mentor, Raja Parasuraman who has extensive expertise in cognitive neuroscience and aging and who has a proven record of training students and fellows in these fields. The training environment will involve a team of top researchers in cognitive aging, neuroscience, and neuroimaging. This group will provide training in the theoretical issues and analysis methods involved in cognitive and neuroimaging studies in old participants, as well as in the issues involved in the comparison of neuroimaging data between young and old adults. The K01 award will allow the candidate the time and support necessary to devote to her research career development as an independent researcher in cognitive aging and cognitive neuroscience. In her research plan, the candidate will examine how the human brain processes visual information about complex motion (e.g., shape-from-motion), and what cortical mechanisms mediate age-related changes in complex motion perception. The topic is important because many everyday tasks carried out by older adults, such as walking, driving, and playing sports, are critically dependent on the processing of complex visual motion by the brain. The objective is to identify the human cortical representation of surfaces and objects defined by motion in young and old adults, using both behavioral methods and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The central hypothesis is that deficits in recognizing objects in relative motion in old age are due to changes in the functional efficiency of specific cortical areas in the brain. Additionally complex motion processing is mediated by cortical regions beyond the simple motion processing areas in the human visual cortex. Specifically, the proposed studies will (1)identify the human cortical areas associated with the processing of motion-defined flat and curved surfaces in depth; (2) identify the cortical areas mediating the processing of shape-from-motion using attention modulation; and (3) determine the neural basis of age-related decreases in ability to process visual information about complex motion. Combination of behavioral and neuroimaging methods will lead to successful establishment of causal relationships between visual motion processing and cortical function (or dysfunction) in the young and old. This will provide a foundation for the further development of diagnostic and therapeutic tools to address important health and mobility problems in the elderly.
Effective start/end date12/11/028/31/07


  • National Institute on Aging: $454,299.00


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