Psychology Professor Receives $1.9 million Grant to Study Memory Training

Aaron Seitz, a psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside and the director of the UCR Brain Game Center for mental fitness and well-being, and Susanne Jaeggi, an associate professor at the school of education at UC Irvine, have been awarded a $1.9 million grant to study memory training.

Aaron Seitz sitting in a baseball stadium.

Aaron Seitz

This grant will support UCR Brain Game Center’s mission to research, test, and disseminate evidence-based, scientifically optimized brain fitness games that transfer benefits to real-life activities. The Brain Game Center is the only university-based research center focused on research of brain training games, and it has a track record of making tested procedures publically available so that people can try them out for themselves.

With the grant, Seitz will be able to help address central questions in the controversial field of “brain training,” exercises that are meant to harness and direct the brain in ways that can enhance your overall performance and improve the quality of your life. Namely, it will look into how individuals may receive different outcomes from the same training method, and that the best approach may differ among individuals.

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UC Riverside Alumnus Received Funding for Research on How Life in Earth’s Oceans Has Changed

Recent UC Riverside alumnus Noah Planavsky, now an assistant professor in the Department of Geology & Geophysics at Yale University, has been awarded a 2016 Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering.

Planavsky is currently a co-investigator within the UCR-led Alternative Earths team of the NASA Astrobiology Institute.

Planavsky will receive $875,000 over five years to fund his research into how life in Earth’s oceans has changed over billions of years. The Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering, one of the largest nongovernmental fellowships in the U.S., were announced Oct. 14.

At UC Riverside, Planavsky worked with Timothy Lyons, a distinguished professor of biogeochemistry and leader of the Alternative Earths NASA team. Planavsky received his doctoral degree in earth sciences in 2012, after which he held a postdoctoral appointment at Caltech.

“As a testament to Noah’s many contributions, perhaps the single most important process in Earth’s biological history—the pattern of marine and atmospheric oxygenation—is now viewed as a dynamic path to the modern world, full of ups and downs with myriad attendant implications for the coupled biological and climatic drivers and consequences,” Lyons wrote in support of Planavsky’s award.

“It is not surprising that Noah already has an extraordinary publication record, with numerous high-impact papers in top journals. It is also not surprising that he is leading an important part of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, with the ultimate goal of using Earth’s past to guide exoplanet exploration.”


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