Didem Pehlivanoğlu, Graduate of Department of Psychology, Izmir University of Economics (IUE) has been awarded APA (American Psychological Association) Science Directorate's Dissertation Research Award 2017 for her thesis on perception, attention and memory processes in old age. Pehlivanoğlu, whose dissertation costs are covered by the award, is about to complete her study, will continue to research about the changes occurring in cognitive processes in old age.
Pehlivanoğlu reported that she focused on experimental psychology during her undergraduate study at Izmir University of Economics, and after completing her master’s degree at Bosporus University, she started to study on the elderly at the Department of Psychology of Georgia Institute of Technology in USA. Pehlivanoğlu stated that studying experimental psychology made her very happy, and she received scholarship from TUBITAK’s Graduate Scholarship Program for National Students during her masters. “Upon completing my studies in Turkey, I was accepted to doctoral program at the Department of Psychology of Georgia Institute of Technology. I started my doctoral study, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Paul Verhaeghen, on cognitive aging, which studies perception, attention, and memory processes in old age. I was studying the effects of emotional materials on the perception and attention processes of young and old people by using EEG method. My dissertation titled, ‘Duygusal Uyaranların Seçici Dikkat Üzerindeki Etkisinin Yaşa Bağlı Olarak İncelenmesi (Analysis of the Effect of Emotional Stimulants on Selective Attention Based on Age)’ has been awarded the dissertation research award by American Psychological Association. And all costs of my project are being covered by the research fund within this award,” said Pehlivanoğlu.
Pehlivanoğlu, still working on her dissertation, stated that she works with a group of young and elderly people where she records their reactions to shapes and emotional pictures, and electrical activities of their brains. Pehlivanoğlu stated that she wanted to study the factors that caused the changes occurring in cognitive processes in old age, and continue her researches as a Turkish scientist upon graduating from her doctoral program.