The broad focus of Denise Head’s research program is the exploration of the constellation of age-related cognitive changes and their relations with brain structure.
There are three primary threads within this overarching theme. For one line of research, the focus is on characterizing the nature of aging effects on cognitive functioning with consideration of the accompanying brain changes, with both normal and pathological aging (i.e., Alzheimer disease) examined. My lab has been specifically examining effects on spatial navigation, using both virtual-reality and real-world experimentation as well as mobile eye-tracking and experience sampling. The second major concentration involves examination of moderators and mediators of cognitive and brain aging, including factors such as exercise, cardiovascular health, sleep characteristics, stress and personality. The third component of my research program entails consideration of methods to support effective spatial navigation in older adults. The underlying object of all of these research lines is to gain a greater understanding of cognitive aging, the contributing factors and effective intervention.