Cognitive Dynamics is dedicated to novel, outcomes-oriented dementia research.  Often, medical research is performed for the sake of science, without a clear goal of improving perceived quality of life.  While we recognize the importance of this research, we see a tremendous opportunity to improve the lives of persons living with dementia and their families with person-centered, translational research initiatives.

The Bringing Art to Life (BATL) Research Team presented an abstract titled “The Effects of an Intergenerational Service Learning Experience on Ageist Attitudes” highlighting outcomes data from University of Alabama Honors students enrolled in UH 300: Art to Life at the 21st IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics in San Francisco on July 25, 2017. Additionally, the team recently published an article, Bringing Art to Life: Social and Activity Engagement through Art in Persons Living with Dementia, in Clinical Gerontologist.

Our research team from the Alabama Research Institute on Aging and the UA Department of Psychology led by Keisha Ivey, MA and Rebecca Allen, PhD has been conducting research since 2015, and the current abstract addresses student data from pre-and post surveys measuring empathy and attitudes toward older adults, persons living with dementia and community service.

Compared with student controls from a psychology of aging course, BATL students exhibited statistically significant improvement in attitudes towards persons living with dementia and toward community service, as well as greater increases in empathy.

Research will be ongoing, and will involve analysis of the program’s impact on participating persons living with dementia and their caregivers. The latest presentation complements previous presentations about BATL at meetings of the Gerontological Society of America in New Orleans, LA and Orlando, FL, the Student Mentoring Conference in Pensacola, FL, the Alzheimer’s Association International Conferences in Paris, France and Washington D. C., and the Southeastern Chapter of the Association for Contextual and Behavioral Science conference in Lafayette, LA.

Our foundation’s research has been funded in part by grants from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America and Alabama State University via the Alabama Dementia Initiative.

Farmhouse by Lester E. Potts, Jr.