Theses Doctoral

The Psychological Factors and Neural Substrates Associated with Metacognition among Community-Dwelling and Neurologic Cohorts of Older Adults

Colvin, Leigh Elizabeth

This project consists of three distinct, but sequential studies that explore the psychological factors and neuropathological substrates of metacognition or self-awareness among older adults. Study 1 examines the premorbid, psychological characteristics associated with metamemory—the mainstay of metacognitive research—in a healthy, community-dwelling cohort of older adults. Study 2 builds on these analyses, and examines the psychological characteristics associated with metacognition, more broadly, in a neurologic cohort of older adults with Essential Tremor (ET). Study 3, which utilizes post-mortem evaluations of participants from Study 2, goes beyond premorbid characteristics and examines whether distortions in metacognition are in part attributable to an underlying disease process. Findings demonstrated that psychological characteristics were associated with metacognitive accuracy in a healthy, community-dwelling cohort of older adults, but not among individuals with ET; further, distortions in metacognition among individuals with ET were better attributable to non-ET specific pathologies, such as amyloid β, neurofibrillary tangles, and regional-specific atrophy. This project underscores the importance of employing a biopsychosocial approach to understanding the factors that influence metacognition. Ultimately, by understanding and working effectively with awareness phenomena, there is a strong potential to reduce disability and enhance well-being.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Clinical Psychology
Thesis Advisors
Farber, Barry A.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
September 30, 2019