Skip to main content
Psychology banner

Psychology: Transforming Science and Practice

50th Anniversary Celebration for URI Department of Psychology

Fall 2011 Colloquium Series Schedule

All are invited to attend the year-long colloquia series on

Psychology: Transforming Science and Practice

In honor of the 50th Anniversary Celebration for the University of Rhode Island Department of Psychology

Dr. Jennifer J. Manly

Associate Professor of Neuropsychology at the Sergievsky Center and the Taub Institute

Columbia University, New York

Will speak on Monday, November 7, 2011 at 3:15pm in CPRC West Commons, Room 45W on:

Race, Culture, and Education: Relationships to Cognitive Aging and Risk for Alzheimer's Diease


BA & BS: (Psychology & Biology) University of California, Berkeley

Internship: Brown University, Providence

PhD: (Clinical Psychology) University of California, San Diego/ San Diego State University

Postdoctoral Fellowship: Columbia University, New York

Ongoing Research: Dr. Manly is interested in examining the relationship of cognitive aging to cultural and educational factors:

Cognitive test performance of African American elders: Cognitive tests have poor specificity among minority populations and cannot reliably differentiate subtle impairment associated with the early stages of dementia from the effects of normal aging. Misdiagnosis of dementia is thus more likely among cognitively normal African Americans as compared to non-Hispanic Whites. Dr. Manly is directly addressing this problem by investigating the cultural and educational determinants of individual variation in neuropsychological test performance, both cross-sectionally and longitudinally.

Literacy as a proxy for cognitive reserve: Another research interest is whether literacy level is a more meaningful proxy for cognitive reserve than years of education or occupation among ethnically diverse elders. In a study of the relationship of literacy level to change in memory ability over time, she found that elders with both high and low levels of literacy declined in immediate and delayed memory over time; however, the decline was more rapid among low literacy elders. This suggests that high literacy skills do not provide complete preservation of memory skills but rather a slowing of age-related decline.

Literacy and working memory: Neuropsychological studies of illiterates have led several researchers to propose that the acquisition of written language modulates the so-called phonological loop. However, prior research of my group and others has shown a profound effect of literacy on performance on a wide range of verbal and nonverbal cognitive tests. She is currently exploring whether the effect of literacy is primarily on the phonological loop (verbal short term memory), or whether it also has independent effects on other aspects of working memory, including visuospatial short-term memory.

Light refreshments will be provided after the talk.

50th Anniversary Committee: Larry Grebstein, Lisa Harlow, Al Lott, Peter Merenda, Nelson Smith, James Prochaska, Patricia Morokoff & Wayne Velicer