Aging, Imaging and Memory Lab

Researcher - Dr. Kristy Nielson

The Research

My research focuses on the pursuit of neurobiological, cognitive, and psychosocial approaches toward understanding and enhancing learning, remembering and executive functions in normal aging and dementia. Specifically, I have two primary and interrelated branches to my research program.

First, I study memory formation and memory consolidation and the treatments and individual differences that influence it. Second, I study the neurobiological, physiological, and cognitive foundations of age- and dementia-related cognitive decline, along with methods designed to prevent or reverse such declines. Studies in the lab involve both graduate and undergraduate researchers as investigators, presenters and authors.

Current Studies Include:

  • studies of various agents and techniques, such as muscle tension, that may enhance memory via arousal mechanisms;
  • studies of the effects of emotion, thrill-seeking (such as skydiving), alexithymia and emotion regulation strategies on memory and executive functioning;
  • modulation of false memory and forgetting;
  • investigation of the physiological foundations of neural changes with age and the risk factors that interact with them, using MRI and fMRI;
  • investigations of the utility of EEG as a biomarker of AD using executive functioning and memory tasks.

Graduate Students

Anthony Correro, M.S.

AnthonyAnthony N. Correro II, M.S. graduated from Louisiana State University with a psychology and minors in biological sciences and Italian. At that time, he obtained training in neuropsychology and dementia research. He completed an honors thesisin cognitive psychology and was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. He currently works with Kristy Nielson, Ph.D. to study alexithymia, memory consolidation processes, and risk for premature cognitive decline. His master’s thesis focused on how emotional arousal affects false memory in healthy young adults on the alexithymia spectrum. His dissertation will investigate the roles of alexithymia and age on inhibitory control. Anthony has presented research with the AIM Laboratory nationally and internationally, and his future research will likely examine the impact of LGBTQ+ related stress on older adults’ cognitive functioning. Anthony’s clinical interests reside in neuropsychological assessment of older adults and psychotherapeutic interventions for elders. He aspires to spend a lifetime working with older adults and researching the unique factors that impact LGBTQ+ aging.


  • Guastello, S. J., Correro II, A. N., & Marra, D. E. (in press). Do emergent leaders experience greater workload? The swallowtail catastrophe model and changes in leadership in an emergency response task. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice.
  • Guastello, S. J., Correro II, A. N., & Marra, D. E. (in press). Cusp catastrophe models for cognitive workload and fatigue in teams. Applied Ergonomics.
  • Nielson, K. A., & Correro II, A. N. (2017). Post-learning arousal enhances veridical memory and reduces false memory in the Deese-Roediger-McDermott paradigm.Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 144(October 2017), 198-207. doi: 10.1016/j.nlm.2017.07.009
  • Correro II, A. N., Marra, D. E., Reiter, K., Byers, S. J., & Nielson, K. A. (2016). Executive functioning and verbal memory are predictive of alexithymia across the lifespan [Abstract]. Clinical Neuropsychologist, 30(3), 425.
  • Brouillette, R.M., Foil, H., Fontenot, S.,Correro, A., Allen, R., Martin, C.K., Bruce-Keller, A.J., & Keller, J.N. (2013). Feasibility, Reliability, and Validity of a Smartphone Based Application for the Assessment of Cognitive Function in the Elderly.PLoS ONE,8(6): e65925. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065925

Book Chapters

  • Guastello, S. J., Marra, D. E., Correro, A., Michels, M., & Schimmel, H. (2017). Elasticity and rigidity constructs and ratings of subjective workload for individuals and groups. In L. Longo & M. C. Leva (Eds.), Human mental workload: Models and applications (pp. 51-76). Cham, Switzerland: Springer.

Tristan A. Gregg, B.S.


Sarah Evans, B.S.


Elizabeth Paitel, Ph.D.


Elizabeth R. Paitel, Ph.D. graduated from St. Norbert College in 2016 with a B.A. in psychology and Spanish. There she conducted research as a McNair Scholar in behavioral neuroendocrinology and cognitive neuroscience. Working in the Aging, Imaging, and Memory (AIM) Laboratory, she earned an M.S. in Clinical Psychology and a Ph.D. in Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience. Dr. Paitel’s primarily research interests use EEG to characterize age-related changes in neurocognitive functioning, with an emphasis on early detection of risk for Alzheimer’s disease during healthy, asymptomatic stages. Her current role as a Postdoctoral Researcher is a joint position with the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Psychology in which she is pursuing advanced modeling of EEG data during executive functions, including cerebellar source localization. Her future research will also examine preventative and intervention measures for pathological aging.


  • Paitel, E.R., Peters, S.D., Lobermeier, M., & Lopez-Cowell, R.A. (2022). Age-Related No-Go P300 Amplitudes are Moderated by Exposure to Early-Life Stress. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 180, 1-9. doi: 1016/j.ijpsycho.2022.06.016
  • Paitel, E.R., & Nielson, K.A. (2021). Temporal Dynamics of Event-Related Potentials during Inhibitory Control Characterize Age-Related Neural Compensation. Symmetry(special issue, Cognition, Neuroscience and Asymmetry), 13(12). doi: 10.3390/sym13122323
  • Elverman, K.H., Paitel, E.R., Figueroa, C.M., McKindles, R.J., & Nielson, K.A. (2021). Event-Related Potentials, Inhibition, and Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease Among Cognitively Intact Elders. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 80(4), 1413-1428. doi: 10.3233/JAD-201559
  • Paitel, E.R., ^Samii, M., & Nielson, K.A. (2020) A Systematic Review of Cognitive Event-Related Potentials in Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease. Behavioural Brain Research, 396. doi: 1016/j.bbr.2020.112904
  • Correro II, A.N., Paitel, E.R., Byers, S.J., & Nielson, K.A. (2019). The Role of Alexithymia in Memory and Executive Functioning Across the Lifespan. Cognition and Emotion (special issue, Alexithymia), 35(3), 524-539. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2019.1659232
  • Cowell, R.A., Paitel, E.R., & ^Peters, S. (2019). The Context of Caution: An Examination of Age, Social Context, and Sex on Measures of Inhibitory Control and Risky Decision-Making. The International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 90(1), 84-103. doi: 10.1177/0091415019836100
  • Bailey, D. J., Makeyeva, Y. V., Paitel, E. R., Pedersen, A. L., Hon, A. T., Gunderson, J. A., & Saldanha, C. J. (2017). Hippocampal Aromatization Modulates Spatial Memory and Characteristics of the Synaptic Membrane in the Male Zebra Finch. Endocrinology158(4), 852-859. doi: 10.1210/en.2106-1692


Current Undergraduate/Post-graduate Research Assistants

Current Undergraduate/Post-graduate Research Assistants

  • Riya Bhasin
  • Miya Donparthi
  • Genaro Herrera-Cano
  • Liza Kuckkan
  • Nyla Nazir
  • Ellie Marino
  • Jordan Offner
  • Erik O’Reilly
  • Michael Quaranta
  • Marielle Samii
  • Alyssa Schutze
  • Simon Werven

Notable Lab Alumni

  • Timothy J. Arentsen, Ph.D.
  • Sheila Baer, Ph.D.
  • Benjamin Bock, Ph.D.
  • Steve Byers, Psy. D.
  • Alissa Butts, Ph.D.
  • Veronica Dixon, M.S.
  • Shaun English, Ph.D.
  • Kirk I. Erickson, Ph.D.
    (as an undergraduate)
  • Christina Figueroa, Ph.D. 
  • Katie Hazlett Elverman, Ph. D.
  • Nathan Hantke, Ph.D.
  • Trevor Hyde, Ph.D.
  • Anna Kiel, M.S.
  • Scott A. Langenecker, Ph.D.
  • Riley Marinelli, B.A., D.P.T
  • Mitchell A. Meltzer, Ph.D.
  • Andrew Newsom, Ph.D.
  • Mark Powless, Ph.D.
  • Katherine Reiter, M.S. Ph.D.
  • Julie Riederer, M.S.
  • Linda F. Stone, Ph.D.
  • Laura Klockow Wulff, Ph.D.
  • Douglas Yee, M.S.

Where are they now?

Lab Photos

Sarah Evans and Elizabeth Paitel

Sarah Evans and Elizabeth Paitel at the Society for Neuroscience conference, October 2019

 AIM Lab Team

AIM Lab Team at the Walk to End Alzheimer's Disease, Milwaukee, WI, September  2019.

AIM Lab in Zurich

AIM Lab in Zurich for Cognitive Aging Conference 2019 (EUCAS), April 2019 (Elizabeth Paitel, Dr. Nielson, Anthony Correro)

Dr. Nielson and AIM Lab at Fiserv Forum

Dr. Nielson and AIM Lab at Fiserv Forum, January 2019 (if needed, L-R is: MU Athletics Director Bill Scholl, Sarah Evans, Elizabeth Paitel, Zane Ballard, Bill Lorber, Dr. Nielson, MU Provost Kimo Ah Yun, MU President Michael R. Lovell.


EEG team training, 2017


Poster session at EUCAS 2017, Volkshaus, Zurich. Find the AIM Lab presenters, Anthony Correro and Elizabeth Paitel!


Elizabeth Paitel presenting at EUCAS 2017, Volkshaus, Zurich


At the EUCAS dinner at the Zunfthaus zur
Meisen in Zurich, Switzerland, April 2017


Us at the EUCAS Dinner at the Zunfthaus zur Meisen, Zurich


Day 1 of EEG training 2016


Day 1 of EEG training 2016


Anthony Correro, presenting at the 1st International Convention of Psychological Science in Amsterdam, Netherlands, March 2015.


AIM Lab (left to right): David Marra,
Riley Marinelli, Christina Figueroa,
Dr. Nielson, Katie Hazlett, 
Anthony Correro,
and Kate Reiter 
at the Nora Finnigan Werra Faculty Achievement Award (Association of Marquette University Women) luncheon, 2014.