The Centre draws together researchers and projects across disciplines to study how different kinds of resources combine to form an individual’s broader cognitive system, and how these resources can be utilised to enhance memory, cognition, identity, and wellbeing in older adults and people with dementia. This scaffolding is studied through the following research themes:
- social resources (from other people, such as a romantic partner)
- embodied resources (from activities and practices, such as music)
- psychological resources (from one's own mental resources, such as resilience)
Scaffolding via social resources
Social resources may play an important role in scaffolding cognitive functioning in older adults and people with dementia. Under this theme, we investigate how external social resources, in particular intimate long-standing partners and family members, may be able to enhance cognitive functioning. We investigate the processes involved in successful interpersonal scaffolding.
Research topics include whether social scaffolding provided by partners within older, long-married couples can mitigate the effects of cognitive decline, and whether the link between hearing loss and dementia is related to a loss of social support that occurs due to hearing loss.
Scaffolding via embodied resources
Embodied resources are activities and practices that may scaffold cognitive functioning in older adults and people with dementia. Under this theme, we investigate how the body’s interactions with the environment through motor and perceptual systems may be able to enhance cognitive functioning, as well as the factors that may predict successful scaffolding via this resource.
Research topics include joint skilled action with a partner (involving both social and embodied resources), the effects of procedural, or motor skill-based, memory cues in older adults, and whether music acts as a scaffold for memory, cognition and identity in people with dementia.
Scaffolding via psychological resources
Psychological resources are mental capabilities that may help scaffold cognitive functioning in older adults and people with dementia. Under this theme, we investigate psychological resources that may be thought of as separate to general cognition, and whether they may be able to successfully scaffold cognitive functioning.
Research topics include the effect of strengthening the resilience of older adults through reflection on past events, and whether resilience can scaffold cognitive functioning.