Assistant Research Scientist

Alexandru D. Iordan, Ph.D.

Alex is an Assistant Research Scientist in the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan. His main research interest is in understanding the structure and dynamics of the large-scale brain networks that mediate interactions between executive control and emotion, as well as the roles of aging and training in these interactions.

Alex received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.



Current Projects

Aging and Working Memory Training

This long-term project investigates changes in the neural mechanisms of working memory after several days of training. Participants undergo a series of fMRI scans, neuropsychological assessments, and ten days of training on a computerized working memory task. We aim to identify functional changes in brain activation and possible changes in measures of neural efficiency associated with working memory training. We also aim to identify age-related differences in these changes by including both younger (18-24) and older (65+) adults in this study.

Cognitive and Affective Distraction on Working Memory

Distractions occur often in our daily lives and can affect our ability to remain focused on a goal-oriented task. For instance, receiving a distressing text message may interfere with one’s ability to remain focused on studying for an exam. The process known as working memory is critical for the maintenance of goal-oriented information, but the mechanisms of this phenomenon are still being researched. We aim to understand how the effects of distraction impact WM performance and furthermore, what are the underlying brain mechanisms responsible for this effect.

Additional Readings:
Dolcos, F., & McCarthy, G. (2006). Brain systems mediating cognitive interference by emotional
distraction. Journal of Neuroscience, 26(7), 2072–79.

Hakun, J. G., & Ravizza, S. M. (2016). Ventral fronto-parietal contributions to the disruption of visual working memory storage. NeuroImage, 124(Pt A), 783–93.