Psychology professor receives NIH grant


The Appalachian Online

Staff Reports

An Appalachian State University psychology professor recently received a $270,375 grant to study the relationship between mood and memory.

Lisa Emery, an associate psychology professor received the grant from the National Institutes of Health, or NIH.

Emery said the grant will fund a three year research project focusing on the interrelationships between mood and memory and how they change with age

“We know that older adults, people over age 65, tend to be happier than people younger than that and tend to be less likely to have a mental illness,” Emery said.

Emery said there are different hypotheses about why older people tend to be happier and she believes it is because as people age they have worse memory for specific details of the past, and that the inability to remember bad experiences clearly makes the past seem more positive.

The grant will help graduate and undergraduate students get research experience working on the project, which is required by the psychology department.

Emery said the project offers both paid and unpaid research positions for students. The paid positions pay hourly, not in scholarships.

Emery said the project is split into three separate studies over the course of the three years.

The first study involves using cognitive interviews, a technique used when interviewing eyewitnesses for crimes. This involves interviewing someone in a way to recall specific details, an experiment which, according to the grant application given courtesy of Emery, will attempt to find a link between recalling specific details and negative mood.

The second experiment involves participants recalling arguments from emotional and nonemotional perspectives. The grant application states that this experiment is observing whether or not instructions reduce emotional reaction to negative events.

Emery said the details of the third experiment needs to remain unknown for research purposes.

Staff Reports