Education

  • Ph.D., M.A. Princeton University
  • B.A. Gustavus Adolphus College

Areas of Expertise

  • Cognitive Aging
  • Memory

Background

I joined the Psychology Department in fall 1996, after completing postdoctoral research in aging at Washington University in St. Louis and at Duke University.

My main research interest is in cognitive aging, particularly the mechanisms that are responsible for memory changes and, in some cases, the lack of memory changes in healthy older adults. Specialty areas include source memory (e.g., where did you learn information, a friend, a TV show, Facebook), autobiographical memory, and inhibitory control (e.g., what we use to name the color of ink in RED "black").

My most recent line of research is on the effects of video game training on the cognitive performance of older adults; this research is supported by a grant from the National Institute on Aging. I also enjoy helping students develop research projects in aging that are not necessarily about cognition and projects in cognition that are not necessarily about aging.

In 2007, I was deeply honored to be a recipient of the Hunter-Hamilton Love of Teaching Award.

Teaching

  • PSY 101 General Psychology
  • PSY 245 Psychology of Aging
  • PSY 276 Cognitive Psychology
  • PSY 304 Psychological Research: Memory
  • PSY 319 Psychological Research: Adult Development
  • PSY 377 Life Stories
  • PSY 378 Aging & Memory
  • PSY 401 Issues in Psychology

Memberships & Associations

  • Fellow of the American Psychological Association and its Divisions 3 (Experimental Psychology) and 20 (Adult Development & Aging)
  • American Psychological Association Divisions 1 (General Psychology) and 2 (Teaching of Psychology)
  • Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science
  • Council for Undergraduate Research
  • Gerontological Society of America
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Fellow of the Psychonomic Society
  • Sigma Xi
  • Women in Cognitive Science
  • American Association of University Women

 

Davidson News

Biology Professor Dave Wessner with students David Peng '22 and Cathleen Krabak '23 (seated) and Nella Tsudis '23, surrounding “El Extranjero” by artist Delia Cugat.

Davidson College Biology Professor Dave Wessner and students incorporate art in a course to study the biology of COVID-19 and produce a powerful exhibit now on display. Learn more.

Sky rainbow over college buildings and trees

About a week after most students had left campus, psychology professor Laura Sockol drafted an email to all psychology majors, faculty and staff members. Her instructions were simple: Write down three good things they had experienced that day, and why they thought those things had happened.