Department of Psychology

Karen A. Daniels

faculty photo

Dr. Karen A. Daniels, Associate Professor & Undergraduate Coordinator.
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, 2002/2003.
Ph.D., Cognitive Aging (Minor in Neuroscience), Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, 2002.
B.Sc., Psychology, University of Toronto at Scarborough, Scarborough, ON, Canada, 1997.

Teaching Laboratory Building, 2004G
UNCW, 601 South College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403
(910) 962-7178 | |

I am a cognitive psychologist whose research is directed at answering two fundamental questions: First, how do people exert control over their thinking and behavior, and why are some people better able to do this than others? I am particularly interested in developing methods for measuring and understanding the cognitive-control deficits observed in late life and as a function of individual-difference variables like working memory capacity. Theoretically, my research centers on the "dual-process" distinction between controlled and automatic processes, a distinction that I believe provides key insights into the nature of cognitive control.

Second, are there training programs that can successfully slow or reverse age-related declines in cognitive control? Despite the overwhelming evidence for age-related deficits in memory and attention, very little research has been dedicated to developing techniques that attempt to rehabilitate these cognitive skills. My current research explores the utility of laboratory computer tasks, video games, and physical fitness as tools for improving cognitive-control skills in populations showing impairments.

Selected Publications

Daniels, K.A., Toth, J.P., & Jacoby, L.L. (2006). The aging of executive functions. In E. Bialystok & F.I.M. Craik (Eds.), Lifespan cognition: Mechanisms of change (pp. 96-111). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Jacoby, L.L., Shimizu, Y., Daniels, K.A., & Rhodes, M.G. Modes of cognitive control in recognition and source-memory: Depth of retrieval. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 12, 852–857.

Daniels, K.A. Cognitive control, automaticity, and working memory: A dual-process analysis. Under review at Journal of Experiment Psychology: General.

Toth, J.P., Daniels, K.A., & Jacoby, L.L. Art Dealer: A computer game for enhancing cognition in older adults. Manuscript submitted for publication.