Behavior & Cognition

Student helping with a project

Human cognitive testing and cognitive training are a central component of the CAM Center research program. Projects are focused on understanding and improving memory and executive functioning, which are cognitive domains that are known to decline in older adults. Using state-of-the-art neuroimaging, neuromodulation and peripheral biomarkers, CAM Center researchers aim to identify new therapeutic targets as well as test and implement promising new interventions to augment cognition in older adults.

On the preclinical side, CAM Center labs house behavioral chambers and other testing equipment with software and hardware to enable standardized and sensitive testing of rodent cognition. CAM Center investigators have effectively adapted numerous tasks widely used in the behavioral neuroscience field for efficient testing of aged subjects. Moreover, our investigators have designed novel tasks to probe discovery of the mechanisms underlying cognitive decline and promote translational research.


Researcher using a behavior box

Specialized cognitive testing for rodents

CAM Center laboratories house specialized equipment for diverse, standardized assessment of rodent cognition. Equipment includes over 50 computer-controlled operant behavioral chambers, including 16 Bussey-Saksida Rat Touch Screen Chambers (Lafayette Instruments). All chambers are equipped with the associated hardware and software necessary to conduct numerous assessments of rodent cognition, including those that are sensitive to age-associated decline in memory (e.g., paired associates) and executive function (e.g., attentional set shifting, reversal learning). Multiple water mazes are available for assessing spatial memory in rodents, including one with an HVS Image computerized video tracking system integrated with a retractable escape platform. Multiple Y-mazes are also available for testing spontaneous object recognition along with custom video tracking software. Multiple olfactometers are available for sensitive assessment of olfaction and olfactory learning in rats.