Zuzanna Smurzynska ‘22

Zuzanna Smurzynska

Major: Psychology
Bio: Zuzanna is a senior at FCLC, majoring in Psychology on the Pre-med track. During her time at Fordham, she has worked as a research assistant in the Memory and Aging Lab which sparked her interest in the field of research. Some of her research interests include cognitive neuroscience, neuropsychopathology, aging and cognition, and the impact of childhood experiences on memory capacity in adulthood. After graduating in May 2022, she plans to continue pursuing research and a medical degree.

Title of Research: Examining the Relationship Between Autobiographical Memory Retrieval, Subjective Well-being, and Physical Activity in Older Adults
Mentor: Dr. Karen Siedlecki, Department of Psychology
Abstract: Previous research in a sample of college students found that recalling autobiographical memories related to physical activity was correlated with an increase in subsequent physical activity (Biondolillo & Pillemer, 2015). The current study aims to determine whether this same phenomenon will occur in a population of older adults; as exercise is a major factor in the prevention of chronic illness, the use of autobiographical memories as an interventional tool could be integrated if the study yields significant results. Participants, who were recruited via a not-for-profit online research participant recruitment tool, were randomly assigned to the control or experimental groups and asked to complete a survey consisting of varying measures assessing physical activity, subjective well-being, and overall health; the latter group was asked to recall either a positive or negative motivational memory associated with exercise at Time 1. Participants who consented to be contacted again were then asked to complete a similar survey seven days later, consisting of a number of the same measures. Levels of exercise were compared between Time 1 and Time 2 to determine whether memory retrieval intervention had a significant impact on the level of physical activity. Analysis did not find a statistically significant main effect of condition (i.e., control, experimental-pos, experimental-neg) on time 2 physical activity, though the overall trend did move in the expected direction.