looking out from a cave

Personality Traits and Optimal Aging

The link between conscientiousness and physical health demonstrated by myself (Lodi-Smith et al., 2010) and many others (e.g., Bogg & Roberts, 2013; Hampson et al., 2013) led directly to my postdoctoral work in which I helped launch two large, ongoing research projects designed to assess healthy neurocognitive aging. My primary role in my postdoctoral fellowship was the director of Synapse: Actively Engaging the Aging Mind, an NIA-funded intervention study designed to enhance the cognitive performance of over 500 seniors by immersing them in cognitively and socially engaging activities over a three month period within an experimental intervention context (Lodi-Smith & Park, 2012). Synapse provides a unique opportunity to test whether seniors can directly manipulate their circumstances in order to promote their cognitive health (Park, Lodi-Smith, et al., 2014). During my postdoctoral fellowship, I also supported the development of the NIA-funded Dallas Lifespan Brain Study, a longitudinal sample of over 350 individuals age 20 – 89 that assesses traits alongside a host of psychosocial, behavioral, cognitive, genetic, and neuroimaging variables.

Relevant Publications:

  • Park, D.C, Lodi-Smith, J., Drew, L., Haber, S., Hebrank, A., Bischof, G.N., & Aamodt, W. (2014). The impact of sustained engagement on cognitive function in older adults: The Synapse Project. Psychological Science, 25, 103 – 112.
  • Lodi-Smith, J. & Park., D.C. (2011). Synapse: Active Interventions for the Aging Mind. In Paula Hartman-Stein & Asenath LaRue. (Eds.) Enhancing Cognitive Fitness in Adults: A Guide to the Use and Development of Community-Based Programs (pp. 67 – 83). New York: Springer.
  • Lodi-Smith, J., Turiano, N., & Mroczek, D. (2011). Personality trait development across the lifespan. In Fingerman, K., Berg, C., Smith, J., & Antonucci, T. (Eds.) Handbook of Lifespan Development (pp. 513 – 529). New York: Springer.
  • ​Lodi-Smith, J., Roberts, B.W., Jackson, J., Bogg, T., Walton, K.E., Wood, D., & Harms, P.D. (2010). Mechanisms of health: Education and health-related behaviours partially mediate the relationship between conscientiousness and self-reported physical health. Psychology & Health, 25, 305-319.