Undergraduate Melanie Camejo Coffigny receives grant for thesis research

Melanie Camejo Coffigny ’21 (Neuroscience and Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies) is a member of the Using Neuroscience to Optimize Digital Health Interventions across Adulthood team, which is evaluating whether positively framed social messages motivate aging adults to be more physically active. Her project will extend the team’s research to include individuals will low levels of depression – a population the current study excludes – in order to examine whether there are differences in the effectiveness of positive messages depending on levels of depressive symptoms. She will be mentored by Gregory Samanez-Larkin and Jaime Castrellon.

“My project will use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to answer whether positively framed social messages are most helpful to motivate people to be physically active. This hypothesis will be tested by sending daily activity promoting messages to the participants and monitoring their physical activity over the course of nearly three months. The initial neuroimaging measures will be used to predict the effectiveness of [these] social messages on this population’s physical activity…and daily surveys will track changes in their mood and/or energy throughout their participation in the study. The ultimate goal is to help individuals be more physically active in order to improve brain health as people age.“