Marian Berryhill: Concussions and coping

Title

Coping in Undergraduates with a History of Concussion

Mentor

Marian Berryhill

Department

Psychology

Biosketch

Dr. Berryhill is an Associate Professor who teaches courses in Cognitive Neuroscience. She joined the UNR faculty in 2010. Her research focuses on understanding the neural mechanism underlying working memory and attention in healthy and special participant populations (e.g., patient groups, aging, mTBI). Working memory serves as the important mental workspace supporting current goals. She is interested in understanding which items enter working memory and what predicts whether they will be remembered or forgotten. Relevant applications of this work include developing protocols to improve and maintain cognitive abilities subject to age-related decline.

Project Overview

Many people have had a concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Over the last few years, we have discovered that many of our UNR undergraduates have a history of mTBI and at the group level, they are impaired at visual working memory tasks. Now, we want to understand whether this is changing what they study and how they approach college. This Project will test the hypothesis that students with a history of mTBI cope with the consequences of their lasting cognitive effects. We predict that a history of mTBI leads to more changes in major, more dropped courses, more hours studying, and lower retention. We also predict that those who perform worse on tests of executive function, including working memory, reveal a greater number of coping. If we can understand the consequences of a history of mTBI, we can then begin addressing these concerns on campus and in other chronic mTBI populations.