Geropsychology

Geropsychology addresses mental and behavioural aspects of aging, with the aim to understand the relevant processes and help older persons and their families maintain high-quality life, overcome problems, and achieve maximum potential during later life. Another aim is to help professionals to improve competence in their daily work with older adults.  

Methods and applications  

As a research group, we study and apply scientific tools and methods to identify the most aging-sensitive facets of human psychology, to assist and provide guidance in resolving both social and personal issues, as well as to improve age-related psychological issues. We use standard psychological methods (questionnaires, performance tests, interviews, etc.), which are specifically selected or developed based on the focus of each research project. They are typically directed on assessment of socio-demographic and health-related issues, functional independence, and cognition. For evaluation purposes, we apply mainly paper-and-pencil based methods or ICT solutions. For cognitive training, we mostly use computer-based approaches, based on special training software.

Key publications

1. Stepankova, H., Lukavsky, J., Buschkuehl, M., Kopecek, M., Ripova, D., & Jaeggi, S. M. (2014). The malleability of working memory and visuospatial skills: A randomized controlled study in older adults. Developmental Psychology50(4), 1049–1059. IF = 2.934 https://doi.org/10.1037/a0034913

2. Štěpánková, H., Nikolai, T., Lukavský, J., Bezdíček, O., Vrajová, M., & Kopeček, M. (2015). Mini-Mental State Examination – česká normativní studie [Mini-Mental State Examination – Czech normative study]. Česká a slovenská neurologie a neurochirurgie78/111(1), 57–63. IF = 0.508

3. Kopecek, M., Stepankova, H., Lukavsky, J., Ripova, D., Nikolai, T., & Bezdicek, O. (2017). Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA): Normative data for old and very old Czech adults. Applied Neuropsychology: Adult24(1), 23–29. IF = 0.60 https://doi.org/10.1080/23279095.2015.1065261

4. Bezdicek, O., Libon, D. J., Stepankova, H., Panenkova, E., Lukavsky, J., Garrett, K. D., … Kopecek, M. (2014). Development, Validity, and Normative Data Study for the 12-Word Philadelphia Verbal Learning Test [czP(r)VLT-12] Among Older and Very Old Czech Adults. The Clinical Neuropsychologist28(7), 1162–11810. IF = 0.06 https://doi.org/10.1080/13854046.2014.952666

5. Nikolai, T., Stepankova, H., Kopecek, M., Sulc, Z., Vyhnalek, M., & Bezdicek, O. (2018). The Uniform Data Set Czech version―normative data in older adults from an international perspective. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease61(3), 1233–1240. IF = 3.476  https://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-170595

 


The Geropsychology Working Group's activities focus mainly on research related to healthy aging. Participants in our projects are therefore usually healthy older adults. Another area of our interest is mental disorders occurring in older age, and gerontology in general.

Our areas of interest:

  • Neuropsychological methods - normative and validation studies of internationally recognised methods
  • Cognitive training in older adults through computer-based program
  • Cognition resistant to decline due to normal aging ("superaging")

Our projects:

Starting January 2018, we work on the Cognitive SuperAging project (KOSA), GAČR 18-06199S. The goals are i) to confirm different cognitive domains within our neuropsychological battery by confirmatory factor analysis, ii) to explain the difference between the roles of cognitive reserve and cognitive maintenance, iii) to describe cognitive superaging besides memory also in other domains.

 

In 2017-2018, we worked on the project Impact of settlement size on cognition in older age, COURAGE (COgnition-URban_AGEing), DOI: 10.17605/OSF.IO/KWXDU, GAČR 17-14829S. The main objective of this study was to find whether there are differences between retired older persons in rural versus urban areas in cognitive test performance and in perceived life-pace. Key findings:

1) We found that there are indeed differences in life-pace and presented those results already in 2017 based on partial dataset. The complete data confirmed the findings. Life in Prague is perceived as the most hectic by seniors from various types of settlement in Czechia including Prague, other towns and villages.

2) The data showed that there are differences in cognitive performance, too. Prague citizens performed better than citizens of smaller towns and villages in the selected cognitive domains operationalised as composite scores of standard tests: verbal control, attention; and in episodic memory. They did not differ in visuo-graphomotor control domain.

 

In 2016-2018, our team worked on a project Cognitive Predictors of Neurodegeneration (Principal Investigator: Ondřej Bezdíček, Ph.D.; GAČR  16-01781S). The goal of the study is to link long-term cognitive predictors (based on explicit memory tests) and rate of MTL atrophy (through MRI scans in the first and the third year) to estimate their predictive potential for the conversion of healthy aging (HA) into mild cognitive impairment or dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease. By this design we expect to test the hypothesis that brief, non-invasive and cost-effective cognitive measures and MRI are efficient tools for the estimation of risk of conversion of HA into neurodegenerative disease. This project is a follow-up of the NANOK study.

In 2012-2015, we worked on a project the National Normative Study of Cognitive Determinants of Healthy Aging (NANOK) supported by the Internal Grant Agency of Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic (under grant Nr. NT13145-4/2012; Principal Investigator: Miloslav Kopeček, MD, Ph.D.). The main goal of the project was to provide neuropsychological norms for tests used in screening and diagnostics of cognitive impairment in older adults. Performance in neuropsychological tests is often affected by culture and language status, age and education, therefore it is not correct to use norms from other cultures or younger populations. Neuropsychological assessment is a necessary part of the diagnostic process in case of cognitive impairment (e.g., dementia syndrome). Our team continually publishes results of the project in local and international journals and introduces them to colleagues at seminars and conferences.  

Data from NANOK are available for further analyses upon request from the research team.

The latest publications (to be) issued:

  • Bezdicek, O., Červenková, M., Moore, T. M., Stepankova Georgi, H., Sulc, Z., Wolk, D. A., … Roalf, D. R. (2018). Determining a Short Form Montreal Cognitive Assessment (s-MoCA) Czech Version: Validity in Mild Cognitive Impairment Parkinson’s Disease and Cross-Cultural ComparisonAssessment, 107319111877889. https://doi.org/10.1177/1073191118778896 

  • Heissler, R., Kopeček, M., Pachana, N.A., Franková, V., Štěpánková Georgi, H. (2018). Inventář Geriatrické úzkosti (GAI) a jeho zkrácená verze GAI-SF: Česká normativní studie [Geriatric Anxiety Inventory (GAI) and its short form GAI-SF: Czech normative study]. Československá psychologie62(5), 446-460.
  • Stepankova Georgi, H., Horakova Vlckova, K., Lukavsky, J., Kopecek, M., & Bares, M. (2018). Beck Depression Inventory-II: Self-report or interview-based administrations show different results in older personsInternational Psychogeriatrics, 1-8. Published on-line 09 October 2018. doi:10.1017/S1041610218001187.

  • Frydrychová, Z., Kopeček, M., Bezdíček, O., & Štěpánková Georgi, H. (2018). České normy pro revidovaný Reyův auditorně-verbální test učení (RAVLT) pro populaci starších osob [Czech norms for the revised Rey Auditory-Verbal Learling test (RAVLT) for older persons]. Československá psychologie, 62(4), 330-349.

  • Nikolai, T., Stepankova, H., Kopecek, M., Sulc, Z., Vyhnalek, M., & Bezdicek, O. (2018). The Uniform Data Set, Czech version: Normative data in older adults from an international perspectiveJournal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 61(3), 1233-1240. doi: 10.3233/JAD-170595

  • Nikolai, T., Bezdíček, O., Marková, H., Štěpánková, H., Michalec, H., Kopeček, M., Dokoupilova, M., Hort, J., & Vyhnálek, M. (2018). Semantic verbal fluency impairment is detectable in patients with subjective cognitive decline. Applied Neuropsychology: Adult, 25(5),448-457. On-line first May 26, 2017. doi: 10.1080/23279095.2017.1326047

  • Kopecek, M., Stepankova, H., Lukavsky, J., Ripova, D., Nikolai, T., & Bezdicek, O. (2017). Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA): Normative Data for Old and Very Old Czech Adults. Applied Neuropsychology: Adult, 24(1), 23-29. On-line first May 4, 2016. doi: 10.1080/23279095.2015.1065261

  • Kopecek, M., Bezdicek, O., Sulc, Z., Lukavsky, J., & Stepankova, H. (2017). Montreal Cognitive Assessment and Mini-Mental State Examination Reliable Change Indices in Healthy Older AdultsInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 32(8), 868-875. On-line first June 29, 2016. doi: 10.1002/gps.4539

  • Markova, H., Andel, R., Stepankova, H., Kopecek, M., Nikolai, T., Hort, J., … Vyhnalek, M. (2017). Subjective Cognitive Complaints in Cognitively Healthy Older Adults and Their Relationship to Cognitive Performance and Depressive Symptoms. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 59(3), 871–881. doi: 10.3233/JAD-160970

  • Mazancova, A., Nikolai, T., Stepankova, H., Kopecek, M., & Bezdicek, O. (2017). The Reliability of Clock Drawing Test Scoring Systems Modeled on the Normative Data in Healthy AgingAssessment, 24(7), 945-957. On-line first March 1, 2016. doi: 10.1177/1073191116632586 

  • Horáková, K., Štěpánková, H., Bezdíček, O., & Kopeček, M. (2017). Kontrolované učení ve starším věku [Controlled learning in older age]. Československá psychologie61(3), 213–229.

  • Bezdicek, O., Sulc, Z., Nikolai, T., Stepankova, H., Kopecek, M., Jech, R., & Ruzicka, E. (2017). A Parsimonious Scoring and Normative Calculator for the Parkinson’s Disease Mild Cognitive Impairment BatteryThe Clinical Neuropsychologist, 31(6-7), 1231-1247.On-line first February 28, 2017. doi: 10.1080/13854046.2017.1293161 

  • Bezdicek, O., Stepankova, H., Axelrod, B., Nikolai, T., Sulc, Z., Jech, R., Ruzicka, E., & Kopecek, M. (2017). Clinimetric Validity of the Trail Making Test Czech Version in Parkinsons Disease and Normative Data for Older AdultsThe Clinical Neuropsychologist, 31(S1), 42-60.On-line first May 23, 2017. doi: 10.1080/13854046.2017.1324045

  • Červenková, M., Heissler, R., Rulseh, A., Schmand, B., & Bezdíček, O. (2017). Kognitivní prediktory neurodegenerativních onemocnění [Cognitive predictors of neurodegeneration]. In E. Maierová, L. Viktorová, J. Suchá, & M. Dolejš (Eds.). In PhD Existence: česko-slovenská psychologická konference (nejen) pro doktorandy a o doktorandech (s. 87-92). Olomouc: Univerzita Palackého v Olomouci. Získáno z http://contexo.cz/files/other/filemanager/Files/PHD%20VII/sbornik2017.pdf

List of publications until 2016 HERE

Other resources:

Software PVLT (Philadlephia Verbal Learning Test)
Information here. Download from this webpage here 

Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) - Video manual.

Co-operation

Our research is complemented with efforts to disseminate the knowledge obtained and thus improve practice through educational and promotional activities among professionals and general public, usually in cooperation with the  Working Group for Geropsychology ČMPS , and with the support from the 3rd Medical Faculty of the Charles University in Prague

We cooperate with colleagues from other disciplines and other institutions (e.g., Institute of Psychology of Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic; Memory Clinic, Department of Neurology, University Hospital Motol; Department of Neurology and Centre of Clinical Neuroscience, General Teaching Hospital in Prague; 3rd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University in Prague; Sport Research Center, Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, Charles University in Prague; Department of General Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities, Charles University in Prague; Human-Computer Interaction Group, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Czech Technical University in Prague; Czech-Moravian Psychological SocietyWorking Memory and Plasticity Lab, School of Education, University of California, Irvine, USA; etc.).

 

Team members

Šulc, Zdeněk, Ing., Ph.D. Červenková, Markéta, Mgr.
Kopeček, Miloslav, MUDr., Ph.D. Vlčková, Karolína, Mgr. (Horáková)
Bezdíček, Ondřej, Mgr., Ph.D. Frydrychová, Zuzana, Mgr.
Heissler, Radek, Bc. Vidovićová, Lucie, Mgr., Ph.D.
 


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