About Us

Our Mission

The Laboratory of Personality and Cognition across the Lifespan (LPCLifespan) at the Florida State University College of Medicine examines the interplay between personality and other psychological factors and cognitive function.

We take an intergenerational lifespan approach to address the early environmental origins of personality and cognition, how personality and cognition co-develop across the lifespan, and the mechanisms through which personality contributes to risk of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. 

Other major lines of research

Other major lines of research include the role of purpose in life and loneliness in healthier cognitive outcomes across the lifespan and the consequences of weight stigma for physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being. Our research is multidisciplinary and spans from genetics to cross-cultural studies with a focus on socio and cultural determinants of health and health disparities.

Our People

Angelina Sutin, PhD

Dr. Angelina Sutin is Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine at the Florida State University College Medicine. Her research aims to promote healthy cognitive aging and reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. She focuses on psychological (personality, sense of purpose in life) and social (loneliness, interpersonal relationships) factors that contribute to cognitive outcomes across the lifespan and the mechanisms that explain how and why these factors increase/lower risk for cognitive impairment in older adulthood. The long-term goal of this research is to support healthier cognitive function across the lifespan, especially among populations underrepresented in research who are at greater risk of poor cognitive outcomes.

Antonio Terracciano, PhD

Dr. Antonio Terracciano is a Professor in the Department of Geriatrics at Florida State University College of Medicine. His research program examines the role of psychological traits in aging and health outcomes, with a focus on personality and dementia. He has contributed to several large-scale studies that examined the biological basis of personality, how traits change across the lifespan, and for similarities and differences across cultures. Dr. Terracciano's research aims to identify factors that contribute to health and longevity, by reducing health risk behaviors and promoting resilience against diseases of aging, such as Alzheimer's disease.

Faculty

Martina Luchetti, PhD

Dr. Martina Luchetti is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine at Florida State University College of Medicine. Her research interests pertain the identification of psychological and social factors that are associated with memory function and aging processes in middle and later adulthood. In particular, her work has focused on the role of loneliness and its association with risk of dementia and cognitive impairment and on relational factors implicated in dementia and older adult caregiving.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Amanda Sesker, PhD

Dr. Amanda A. Sesker is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Behavioral Science and Social Medicine at Florida State University College of Medicine. She is also a Butler-Williams Scholar and an alumna of the Alzheimer’s Association Interdisciplinary Summer Research Institute program. Dr. Sesker’s research examines associations between early and midlife conditions on cognitive function across the lifespan, with a particular interest in how modifiable psychological factors and biobehavioral processes promote risk and resilience against cognitive impairment and diseases of aging in older adulthood. Her current research interests include topics related to childhood adversity, cognitive aging, coping, memory, personality, psychophysiology, and stress.

Scientific Staff

Hannah Lovett

Hannah Lovett is Research Lab Manager for the Laboratory of Personality and Cognition across the Lifespan in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine at Florida State University. Hannah has a Master’s in Public Health with an emphasis in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education. She enjoys working with women, families, and unserved communities and enjoys assisting in the design and implementation of personality studies within the lab. On the weekends, you can find her enjoying time with her husband and two boys, most likely near a soccer field.

Justin Brown

Justin Brown is a Data Analyst for the Laboratory of Personality and Cognition across the Lifespan in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine at the Florida State University College of Medicine. He performs tasks associated with data gathering, organization and analysis. His background is in ecology and evolutionary anthropology. He is interested in the intersection of genetic and socio-cultural evolution, the mechanisms associated with the evolution of trait/state (life history, personality, etc.) development and plasticity, and how those traits are expressed and function (biological and psychological disease burden, longevity, etc.) in different biological, socio-economic and cultural environments across the lifespan.

Finesse Beck

Finesse Beck (They/Them) is a Research Assistant in the Laboratory for Personality and Cognition. Finesse has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and is currently pursuing a Master's in Public Health. They hope to blend these disciplines and research how psychological and social constructs affect health and welling being. Finesse is particularly interested in working with and advocating for better health outcomes within the Transgender community as they are underrepresented in research.

Affiliates

Damaris Aschwanden, PhD

Dr. Damaris Aschwanden is a faculty member at the Interfaculty Center for Gerontology and Vulnerability Studies (CIGEV) at the University of Geneva. Her research focuses on the association between personality and cognitive health. For example, Dr. Aschwanden has conducted work on personality traits and cognitive complaints, subjective cognitive decline, cognitive functioning, and dementia risk. To examine her research questions, Dr. Aschwanden uses a broad variety of methodological and statistical approaches including multilevel, large-scaled, meta-analytic, machine learning, ecological momentary assessment, and structural equation modeling. The ultimate objective of her research is to identify therapeutic targets and to develop and test individualized intervention programs that support healthy cognitive aging and prevent cognitive impairment.

Tiia Kekäläinen, PhD

Dr. Tiia Kekäläinen is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Gerontology Research Center and Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. She is a Fulbright alumna of the Florida State University College of Medicine. Her background is in gerontology and public health. Dr. Kekäläinen aims to understand the interaction between psychological and physical functioning and how they contribute to overall functioning and quality of life in aging. Her research topics include physical activity and other health behaviors, physical functioning, cognitive functioning, personality traits, and mental well-being.
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