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Lauren Harburger

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Dr. Harburger’s research investigates the effects of environmental enrichment and hormones on learning and memory.  She is interested in examining environmental factors that may improve or hinder the cognitive abilities of college-age students and older adults.  Her work also focuses on how ovarian hormones, estrogens and progestins, affect cognition and memory.  She is particularly interested in the cognitive effects of female sex hormones in the aging population.  Her previous research has also examined sex differences in cognition.

Research Interests

  • Age-related changes in learning and memory
  • Sex differences in memory and cognitive performance
  • Environmental treatments for age-related cognitive decline
  • Molecular mechanisms of female sex hormones and their effects on memory

Representative Courses

Physiological Psychology

Behavioral Neuroendocrinology

Human Neuropsychology

Science in the Modern World: Brain and Society

Introduction to Psychology

Publications

Stewart, A. and Harburger, L.L. (2021). The effects of major depressive disorder on cognition and the brain. Modern Psychological Studies, 26(1,5),1-17.

Frick, K.M., Fernandez, S.M., and Harburger, L.L. (2010). A new approach to understanding the molecular mechanisms through which estrogens affect cognition. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 1800(10), 1045-1055.

Harburger, L.L., Saadi, A., and Frick, K.M. (2009). Dose-dependent effects of post-training estradiol plus progesterone treatment on object memory consolidation and hippocampal extracellular signal-regulated kinase activation in young ovariectomized mice. Neuroscience, 160(1), 6-12.

Fernandez, S.M., Lewis, M.C., Pechenino, A.S., Harburger, L.L., Orr, P.T., Gresack, J.E., Schafe, G.E., and Frick, K.M. (2008). Estradiol-induced enhancement of object memory consolidation involves hippocampal extracellular signal-regulated kinase activation and membrane-bound estrogen receptors. Journal of Neuroscience, 28(35), 8660-8667.

Harburger, L.L., Pechenino, A.S., Saadi, A., and Frick, K.M. (2008). Post-training progesterone dose-dependently enhances object, but not spatial, memory consolidation. Behavioural Brain Research, 194(2), 174-180.

Harburger, L.L., Lambert, T.J., and Frick, K.M. (2007). Age-dependent effects of environmental enrichment on spatial reference memory in male mice. Behavioural Brain Research. 185, 43-48.

Harburger, L.L., Nzerem, C.K., and Frick, K.M. (2007). Single enrichment variables differentially reduce age-related memory decline in female mice. Behavioral Neuroscience, 121(4), 679-688.

Harburger, L.L., Bennett, J.C., and Frick K.M. (2007). Effects of estrogen and progesterone on spatial memory consolidation in aged females. Neurobiology of Aging, 28(4), 602- 610.

Bennett, J.C., McRae, P.A., Levy, L.J., and Frick K.M. (2006). Long-term continuous, but not daily, environmental enrichment reduces spatial memory decline in aged male mice. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 85(2), 139-152.

Levy, L.J., Astur, R.S., and Frick K.M. (2005). Men and women differ in object memory but not performance of a virtual radial maze. Behavioral Neuroscience, 119(4), 853- 862.

Presentations / Conferences

Harburger, L.L., Thrasher, C.A. and Otto, L. (2021) The effects of hormone contraceptives and menstruation on object memory and spatial ability in young women. Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, P1.14.

Harburger, L.L., Bedward K., and Rivera, R. (2021) The effects of video game use on spatial ability and object memory in men and women. Organization for the Study of Sex Differences, 64.

Harburger, L.L., Beach, K.D., and Sua, E.L. (2019) Sex differences in object memory and spatial ability in young and aged adults. Organization for the Study of Sex Differences, 2- 24.

Taylor, D. and Harburger, L. (2012). The effects endogenous and exogenous sex hormones on object memory and spatial ability in young and aged women. Annual N.E.U.R.O.N. Conference Program, page 30.

Harburger, L.L. and Taylor, D.J. (2010). The effects of age on object memory and spatial ability in women. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, Program # 605.2.11.

Harburger, L.L., Saadi, A., and Frick, K.M. (2009). The effects of combined estradiol and progesterone treatment on object memory consolidation and dorsal hippocampal ERK activation in ovariectomized mice. Annual N.E.U.R.O.N. Conference Program, page 10.