Mary Peterson
Mary Peterson

“Inhibition Deficits in Older Adults” will be the topic of the October Wellness lecture at the Arizona Senior Academy on Thursday (Oct. 13).  The speaker, Mary Peterson, is a professor of psychology and director of the Cognitive Science Program in the University of Arizona Department of Psychology.

Free and open to the public, the lecture will begin at 3:30 p.m. in the Great Room of the ASA Building, 13715 E. Langtry Lane.

Peterson will describe studies she has pursued that show how both visual perception and one’s ability to stay on topic when telling a story change with age.

Staying on topic may be more difficult for older adults than it is for younger people because older adults begin to experience a decline in what is known as inhibition — the ability to inhibit other thoughts in order to pursue the storyline.

Her research has focused on such subjects as the relationship between perception and memory and how attention affects perception; also the processes used to learn new objects and recognize familiar objects and how these change over one’s lifespan.

At UA, Peterson is chair of the Cognitive Science Graduate Interdisciplinary Program, director of the Visual Perception Laboratory, and a member of the School of Mind, Brain and Behavior Executive Committee.  She earned a BA from Marymount Manhattan College and MA and PhD degrees from Columbia University.

Before joining the UA in 1988, Peterson taught at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.  At the UA she was named Outstanding Honors Adviser in 2000, 2007 and 2008.

Her UA research has been supported by a number of outside grants, including six from the National Science Foundation, and she is the author of numerous articles published in professional journals.

Written by H. Deon Holt, Academy Village Volunteer

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How Our Brains Change As We Age: October 2016
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