The Child and Adolescent Neuropsychology Lab ("CAN Lab") is located in the Department of Psychology at the University of Waterloo. Research in the lab focuses on the development of executive control, a collection of inter-related skills that promote purposeful, goal-oriented behaviour. Intuition tells us that executive skills play an important role in our ability to navigate the changing demands of our everyday environments (as when, for example, we are required to juggle competing demands for our time, shift priorities, and keep track of important information). Although much work has been done examining how executive control develops, our understanding of executive skills in children and adolescents is still limited. How is executive control organized during development, how do specific executive skills improve as children age, and why might these skills be important in a developmental context? These are some of the questions that our studies aim to address in the context of typical and atypical development. The overarching goal of the CAN Lab is to find ways of intervening with children to produce more positive mental health outcomes via interventions that strengthen executive skills.
Cognitive training for ADHD youth? New findings from the the CAN Lab
Results from a randomized clinical trial, undertaken in partnership with the CAN Lab and Cambridge Memorial Hospital, are now available in the Journal of Attention Disorders.
This project examined whether our modifications to a commercially available working memory training program, called Cogmed, could improve some of the cognitive and mental health challenges that are commonly experienced by children and teens who have ADHD. Our results join a growing body of evidence questioning the usefulness of Cogmed, but identify aspects of our modifications that were clinically beneficial to youth.
Congratulations to Eleenor Abraham, a PhD student in the CAN Lab who was awarded a CPA Student Reserach Grant to support her doctoral work examining the contribution of rumination, exective functions, and familial factors to depressive symptoms in youth. Way to go Eleenor!
Congratulations to second-year MA student Fatima Wasif, who has matched for a full-time neuropsychology assessment practicum in the pediatric epilepsy program at Hamilton Health Sciences this summer. Belated congratulations also to our two senior students, Rebecca Trossman - now nearing the end of a part-time year-long practicum in neuropsychological consultation at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and Mahsa Sadeghi - now nearing the end of a part-time year-long assessment practicum at Lutherwood Children's Mental Health Centre. Way to go students!
This study, a continuation of our work exploring the interplay of negative affect and cognition (Gabel & McAuley, 2018, 2020), examined the influence of a thinking style induction on participants with high and low levels of emotional reactivity. Our results are consistent with the notion that negative mood engenders analytic thinking which may benefit inhibitory performance provided it does not increase task-incongruent cognitive load.