Tiffany Lake, M.S. (2011)

After graduating with her M.S. Tiffany Lake went on to Medical School At Drexel University.

Thesis:    Estrogenic Influence on Reward-Related Dimensions of Personality: Self-Report and Behavioral Data 

Women’s reward-dependent behavior changes with hormonal fluctuations across the menstrual cycle but It is unclear how sex hormones influence these reward-related behaviors. Areas of the brain associated with risk and reward are closely linked and stimuli that arouse these areas include drugs, alcohol and gambling.  We used the Balloon Analogue Risk Task (BART) and the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) to measure risk-taking and reward dependent behaviors, respectively in women at two points in their menstrual cycle (menses and late-follicular phases).  During the late-follicular phase, women demonstrated increased risk-taking propensity when compared to menses as measured by the BART.  Performance on the IGT showed no difference in reward dependent behavior between cycle phases.  The observed increase in risk-taking behavior during the late-follicular phase may reflect a hormonally mediated increase in sensitivity of the reward system of the brain. 

Victoria Wright, M.S. (2011)

After graduating with her M.S., Tori went on to a Psy.D. program in Clinical Psychology at LaSalle University.

Thesis:  Expert and Former Patient Ratings of Self-Help Books for Infertility Infertility is one condition where bibliotherapy may be helpful for those experiencing related emotional distress, since it is convenient, private, and cost-effective.  This study used two panels, one composed of experts and one of former patients to rate the scientific content and helpfulness of ten of the best-selling self-help books for coping with infertility-related distress.  The books were ranked by total score. Two books ranked among the top three books for both experts and former patients.  Doctoral status of the author, the author's status as a mental health professional, and the author's personal experience with infertility were not significantly associated with expert book scores.  Former patient scores suggest a preference for books with a greater focus on providing information.  The use of humor was significantly negatively correlated with understanding how to implement techniques for this group. Reasonable Expectations subscales were significantly correlated between expert and former patient readers. 

Maiko Sakamoto, Ph.D. (2009)

Maiko Sakamoto completed her internship at University of California, San Diego, and is currently at the HIV Neurobehavioral Research Center (HNRC) as a post-doctoral fellow. 

Dissertation: Comparing Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and Vascular Dementia 
(VaD) Profiles on Neuropsychological Tests among Japanese Elders

Dementia is a devastatingly serious problem in both Japan and the United States; 
 however, AD is more prominent in the U.S., whereas VaD has a higher prevalence 
 in Japan. Most research studies on cognitive aspects of dementia have been 
 conducted in western countries, and to date, there has been only one Japanese 
 study, which was unsuccessful in distinguishing between AD and VaD among Japanese elders. This study explored what neuropsychological tests are sensitive and appropriate for a Japanese population in order to lead to more accurate diagnosis treatment strategies. 

Karen Friedman, Ph.D. (2008)


Karen Friedman completed her internship at Friends Hospital in Philadelphia.

Dissertation: Are symptoms of Postpartum Depression Associated with Deficits in Facial and Auditory Emotional Recognition?
The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of PPD in emotional recognition skills. We examined difficulties in recognizing facial and auditory emotions, negative perceptual bias, and difficulties in emotional recognition skills of mothers towards others and their babies. We also considered bonding difficulties between mother and infants.   

Kirsten Mohn, Ph.D. (2007)


Dissertation: Changes in Cognitive Functioning and EEG Following Long-term Oral Contraceptive Use in Healthy Young Women
Clinical studies report large decreases (up to 90%) in circulating levels of estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone after only six months of oral contraceptive use, with estrogen levels decreasing to near menopausal levels.  Little is known about how this significant alteration in hormones might impact cognition. This project considers the effects of  endogenous and pharmacologically induced hormonal levels on women’s cognitive functioning.  This research examines cognitive functioning and EEG activity in women between 22-35 on low-dose oral contraceptives compared with those who are normally cycling. 

This project was funded by the Institute of Women's Health and Leadership at Drexel University.

Elizabeth D'Andrea, Ph.D. (2004)

The Effects of sex, genetic factors and hormones on spatial abilities.
An exception to male visuospatial superiority has been found in a subgroup of women identified by individual and family handedness (right-handed with at least one left-handed relative)--factors that may be linked to genetic influences on brain organization.  A previous project (thesis research) found that the handedness/genetic factor better accounts for differences in visuospatial ability and strategy use in right-handed women than exposure to math and science coursework.  In addition, normal fluctuations in estrogen during the menstrual cycle have been associated with performance variations within women.  This study considered the effects of sex, genetics (measured by family handedness patterns), and hormone (estrogen and testosterone) levels on visuospatial ability and strategy use in college age men and women.
This project was funded by the Institute of Women's Health and Leadership at Drexel University.

Kate Kniele, Ph.D (2004)

The Effects of Sex and Hormones on Memory for Emotional Stimuli
Evidence suggests that endocrinological differences between the sexes influence memory processes.  In addition, fluctuations in estrogen across the menstrual cycle in women mediate various aspects of affect and emotion.  This study attempts to integrate these findings in order to determine whether hormones play a role in memory for emotional events or stimuli and whether this hormonal influence differentially affects men and women.  The primary measure of emotional memory is performance on a novel, visual-olfactory paired associates task.  Salivary measures of estrogen and progesterone were also collected.

This project was funded by the Institute of Women's Health and Leadership at Drexel University.