Martin J. Sliwinski 

photo of Martin Sliwinski

Director, Center for Healthy Aging; Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Contact Information

402 BBH Building
University Park PA 16802

814-863-9980

(fax) 814-863-9423

mjs56@psu.edu

Research Interests

My research examines on how aging, health and disease can influence a person’s ability to memorize, reason and concentrate. Specifically, I am interested in linking micro-level processes (e.g., daily stress, affect, rumination) to long-term changes in mental, physical and cognitive health. My current research falls into three general areas.

First, I am interested in the developmental pathways leading from stressful experiences to cognitive impairment. A theoretical model guiding this research links environmental influences (e.g., daily stressors, life events) to physiological dysregulation and cognitive decline via ruminative processes (e.g., intrusive thoughts). This model offers mechanisms to explain how stress can influence cognitive function across different time scales, ranging from days to years. Results from several of our studies have demonstrated transient and reversible associations between the experience of stress and cognitive function that manifest across days as well as more enduring effects of stress on cognition that transpire over years. We are following up on these results in several ongoing studies that employ intensive measurement designs (e.g., daily diaries, ecological momentary assessments, measurement bursts) to better understand the time course connecting stressful experiences, emotional responses, physiological dysregulation and cognitive performance.

Second, my lab is developing tools for conducting repeated assessments to improve the sensitivity and accuracy of measuring cognitive change in individuals. Toward this end, we have developed and applied a mathematical model that allows separation of retest related gains in cognitive performance from aging related losses of asymptotic (ie optimal) performance. We have also developed software and tests for assessing cognitive function repeatedly over the World Wide Web and are currently developing tools for measuring cognitive function using handheld computing devices (e.g., smart phones, handheld gaming devices).

A third project involves collaboration with the longitudinal Einstein Aging Studies (EAS) and focuses on longitudinal analyses of cognitive, physiological and health risk and protective factors for preclinical dementia. We are beginning a new study that will explore the role of pain and stress and independent risk factors for cognitive impairment and dementia. This study will employ daily diary methods, markers of neuroendocrine, cardiovascular and inflammatory processes, genetic and psychosocial risk factors and neuroimaging.

Education

Ph.D., 1992, Psychology (Neuropsychology), City University of New York
B.A., 1986, Interdisciplinary Studies, Georgetown University, Washington DC

Specializations

■Phi Beta Kappa, Psi Chi, Magna Cum Laude 1986

■Graduate Fellow, City University of New York, 1986-1988

■Annual award for outstanding student paper on topics in theoretical and philosophical psychology, Division 24, APA  

Professional Experience

2008- Present: Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, Director of the Center for Healthy Aging

2006-2008: Professor, Department of Psychology, Syracuse University

2000-2006: Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Syracuse University

1999-2000: Associate Professor, Department of Neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

1995-2000: Director of Biometrics Unit, Rose F. Kennedy Center for Mental Retardation and Human Development, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

1994-1998: Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

1993-1994: Assistant Director of Biometrics Unit, Rose F. Kennedy Center for Mental Retardation and Human Development, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

1992-1994: Instructor, Department of Neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

1990-1992: Statistical analyst, Biometrics Unit, Rose F. Kennedy Center for Mental Retardation and Human Development, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Selected Publications

Sliwinski, M., Hoffman, L., & Hofer, S. (in press). Evaluating convergence of within-person change and between-person age differences in age-heterogeneous longitudinal studies. Research on Human Development.

Sliwinski, M., Hoffman, L., & Hofer, S. (2010). Evaluating convergence of within-person change and between-person age differences in age-heterogeneous longitudinal studies. Research on Human Development, 7(1), 45-60.

Hall, C.B., Lipton, R.B., Sliwinski, M., Katz, MJ, Derby CA, Verghese, J (2009). Cognitive activities delay onset of memory decline in persons who develop dementia. Neurology, 73, 356-361.

Sliwinski, MJ, Almeida, DM, Smyth, JM, & Stawski, RS (2009). Intraindividual change and variability in daily stress processes: Findings from two measurement-burst diary studies. Psychology and Aging, 24, 828-840.

Stawski, Robert S., Sliwinski, Martin J. and Smyth, Joshua M. (2009). The effects of an acute psychosocial stressor on episodic memory, European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 21, 897-918.

Mogle, JA, Lovett, BJ, Stawski, RS, Sliwinski, MJ (2008) What’s so special about working memory? An Examination of the relationships among working memory, secondary memory and fluid intelligence. Psychological Science, 19, 1071-1077.

Sliwinski, MJ (2008). Measurement-Burst Designs for Social Health Research, Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 2/1, 245-261.

Stawski, R.S., Sliwinski, M.J., Almeida, D.M, & Smyth, J.M. (2008). Reported exposure and emotional reactivity to daily stressors: the roles of adult-age and global perceived stress. Psychology and Aging, 23, 52-61.

Sliwinski, M.J., Stawski, R.S., Katz, M., Verghese, J., & Lipton, R. (2006). On the importance of distinguishing pre-terminal and terminal cognitive decline. European Psychologist., 11, 172-181

Sliwinski, M.J., Smyth, J.M., Hofer, S.M., & Stawski, R.S. (2006). Intraindividual coupling of daily stress and cognition. Psychology and Aging, 21, 545-557.

Curriculum Vitae

.pdf icon Martin Sliwinski vitae

Center Affiliations

  • Center for Healthy Aging

Strategic Themes

  • Human Development
  • Domains of Health and Behavior