Author: Kendra Seaman (page 2 of 3)

Nanosymposium at SfN Accepted

The SfN Nanosymposium Human Cognition and Behavior: Decision Making and Cognitive Aging has been accepted. Excited to present along with Kameko Halfmann, Nichole Lighthall, Debbie Yee, Hui-Kuan Chung, Karolina Lempert, Jason Karlawish, Dibyadeep Datta, Natalie Ebner, Lieke de Boer, Ben Eppinger & Madeline Sharp.  Thanks for organizing Karolina!

Hiring a Research Coordinator!

­Duke’s Motivated Cognition and Aging Brain Lab (PI: Greg Samanez-Larkin) is currently seeking to hire a full-time Research Coordinator beginning in Summer 2018. The position is a minimum of a one-year commitment (­­renewable).

Our lab’s research focuses identifying psychological and neurobiological strengths at all stages of adulthood that can be used to enhance everyday decision making. Please see for more information on our lab’s focus and ongoing projects.

Primary responsibilities for the Research Coordinator will include (1) assisting with the design and implementation of behavioral, eye-tracking, and fMRI experiments, (2) recruitment and testing of human subjects, (3) coordinating volunteer research assistants, and (4) preprocessing and analysis of experimental data. The Research Coordinator will work closely with our senior postdoc, Kendra Seaman, on project management. However, our lab is a highly cooperative environment and the research coordinator can anticipate collaborating with others in the laboratory.

Job qualifications include a BA or BS in psychology, neuroscience, behavioral economics, data science, or a related field. Strong applicants from other fields may be considered. Excellent organizational, time management, problem solving, interpersonal and communication skills are required.

Preferred qualifications include prior experience with experimental design, programming of behavioral tasks, human subject data collection, and data analysis. Technical skills (e.g. Python, R, Unix) are also highly desired, but not required. Prior experience managing teams of people and/or an interest in psychological and neurobiological changes across adulthood is also a plus.

Individuals from backgrounds that are underrepresented in science are strongly encouraged to apply.

For full consideration, please submit (1) a CV or resume and (2) a cover letter detailing research experience, interests, and technical expertise here by April 27, 2018.

Questions about the position may be directed to Dr. Kendra Seaman (


Two Papers Accepted in Two Days!

Yesterday, our manuscript on subjective value representations across adulthood was accepted for publication by Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience and today, our manuscript on loss aversion and skew preference across adulthood was accepted for publication by Psychology and Aging!  Links to OSF pages for both projects above.

Optimizing Digital Health Interventions Funded! – January 2018

The MCAB Lab’s Using Neuroscience to Optimize Digital Health Interventions across the Adulthood interdisciplinary proposal has been funded by Bass Connections at Duke University.

Publication in CABN – October 2017

Our manuscript on skewed financial risk taking was accepted by Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience last week.  Manuscript is available here.  Also, check out our data and code on OSF.

Late-breaking Posters at Society for Neuroeconomics – October 6-8, 2017

The Motivated Cognition and Aging Brain Lab will have three late-breaking posters at Neuroecon this year.  Come check them out!

Session 1 (Friday, October 6, 10:50am-1:15pm)

  • Poster 1-I-22 – Intertemporal Decision- Making and Computational Modeling – Catherine Holland, et al.
  • Poster 1-H- 20 – Individual Differences in Loss Aversion and Preferences for Skewed Risks Across Adulthood – Mikella Green, et al

Session 3 (Sunday, October 8, 10:50am-1:15pm)

  • Poster 3-H-17 – Individual Differences in Dopamine Receptor Availability Are Not Associated with Preferences for Time, Probability, or Effort Across Adulthood – Galen McAllister, Tahj Blow, et al.


Special Session Presentation at Association for Consumer Research – October 27, 2017

I will be presenting the latest findings from our lab on adult age differences in skewed financial decision making at the Association for Consumer Research in San Diego, California.  The presentation will be part of the special symposium called “Age-Related Changes in Decision Preferences: From Mechanisms to Interventions on Friday, October 27, 2017, 9:35-10:50am, Room Gaslamp C/D.  Please join us!

Individual differences in skewed financial risk taking across the adult life span

Kendra L. Seaman1, Josiah K. Leong2, Charlene C. Wu2, and Brian Knutson2, Gregory R. Samanez-Larkin1

1Department of Psychology, Yale University; 2Department of Psychology, Stanford University

Short abstract

We examined adult age differences in choice and neural activity as individuals considered risky gambles. Results revealed age biases towards positively-skewed gambles and age differences in corticostriatal regions during skewed risk taking.  These results have implications for identifying financial decision biases across adulthood.

Training Fellowship at the Duke Center for Aging – September 2017

On September 1, 2017, I started the NIH-funded T32 Postdoctoral Training Fellowship through the Duke Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development.  The goal of the training program is to produce highly skilled research scientists who have the potential for leadership in gerontological research.

CUA Psychology Alumni Lecture – April 3, 2017

I’ll be giving a talk at CUA on April 3, 2017 at 12:15 PM in 324 O’Boyle Hall.  Come by and hear the latest on our research!

Presentation to Yale NeuroEcon Forum – March 23, 2017

I will be presenting the latest findings from our lab on neural representations of subjective value in the brain on 3/23 (Thu) at 4pm in the DOME ROOM (SHM I-500).  Please join us!


Neural Subjective Value Representations across Age and Discount Factors:

Time Delay, Physical Effort, and Probability Discounting

Here we attempt to dissociate behavioral preferences for different discount factors to examine the convergence and divergence of neural representations of subjective value in an adult life span sample. We examined neural subjective value representations when monetary rewards must be integrated with one of three discount factors: time delays, physical effort, or probability. 77 healthy participants between the ages of 22 and 83 (N=33M/44F) completed fMRI studies at Vanderbilt University. Participants made choices between either (1) a smaller magnitude reward with a shorter time delay / higher probability / lower physical effort required and (2) a larger magnitude reward with a longer time delay / lower probability / higher physical effort required.  For each task, participants were compensated with the payout from one trial.  Subjective values were computed using individual subject discount rates estimated using a hyperbolic discount function.  We found that discount rates – preferences for short time delays, lower physical effort, or high probability – were not correlated across tasks. In spite of the apparent behavioral dissociation between preferences, we found overlapping subjective value-related activity in the medial prefrontal cortex. These results suggest that while the tolerance of these decision features is behaviorally dissociable, they share a common neural representation. Interestingly, the regions that are critical for computing and/or representing subjective value have a high density of dopamine receptors. All participants also completed a PET scan; in the future we will examine whether individual differences in subjective value representation are related to individual differences in dopamine receptor availability.

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