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Dr. Donna Rose Addis

Dr. Donna Rose Addis

Canada 150 Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory and Aging

Senior Scientist, Rotman Research Institute

Honorary Professor, School of Psychology, The University of Auckland

Research Focus

Cognitive Neuroscience Aging & Brain Health Alzheimer's & Related Dementias

My research program combines neuroimaging, behavioural and neuropsychological methods to investigate how we remember past experiences, imagine future events, construct a coherent sense of self, and think creatively. A major focus of my research is to understand the relationship between memory and imagination. To this end, my studies explore whether memories and imagined events rely on the same cognitive processes and brain networks such as the default mode network. To date, our findings indicate considerable overlap in memory and imagination, suggesting that past and future events may in fact be different outputs of a single brain system designed to construct mental simulations of reality. Another focus of my work is to understand the ways in which future imagination differs with age, mood and mood disorders such as depression, and memory loss as a result of amnesia or dementia. This work is important in understanding how memory and imagination are linked to other aspects of psychological well-being, but also in identifying what persists in the face of memory loss, such as a strong sense of self, and ways in which future thinking could be enhanced. A new aspect of my research program is exploring how the uncertainty and changes in mood experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting various aspects of future thinking, from simulating upcoming experiences to making decisions related to public health.

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Research Technologies

fMRI Patient-based research