The Catholic University of America


James H. Howard, Jr.

Wylma R. and James R. Curtin Professor



lab: Cognitive Aging Lab

301 O'Boyle (202) 319-4791

 My research group studies how one’s ability to learn and make decisions changes in the course of healthy aging with a particular focus on implicit learning, the kind of learning that takes place without effort or even awareness. To accomplish this we investigate the brain basis of these changes in healthy older adults as well as in various neuropsychological populations. We are also interested in the many factors that contribute to individual differences in successful cognitive aging -- why do some healthy people maintain high function well into old age whereas others do not? We employ a variety of methods including both cognitive behavioral studies and functional (e.g., fMRI) and structural (e.g., DTI) neuroimaging methods. For the past 20 years we have worked in close collaboration with Darlene Howard and her lab at Georgetown University. Our work is supported by grants from the National Institute on Aging. We are also affiliated with the joint Georgetown University / MedStar Rehabilitation Institute's Center for Brain Plasticity and Recovery



Ph.D. (1974) Experimental Psychology, Brown University

Sc.M. (1972) Experimental Psychology, Brown University

A.B. (1969) magna cum laude, Psychology, Providence College

Selected Publications

Bennett, I.J., Madden, D.J., Vaidya, C.J., Howard, D.V., & Howard, J.H., Jr. (2010). Age-Related Differences in Multiple Measures of White Matter Integrity: A Diffusion Tensor Imaging Study of Healthy Aging. Human Brain Mapping, 31(3): 378-390. PMC2826569.

Bennett, I.J., Madden, D.J, Vaidya, C.J., Howard, J.H., Jr., & Howard, D.V. (2011). White matter integrity correlates of implicit sequence learning in healthy aging.Neurobiology of Aging, 32, 2317.e1-2317.e12

Howard, D.V. & Howard, J.H., Jr. (2012). Dissociable Forms of Implicit Learning in Aging. In Naveh-Benjamin, M. & Ohta, N. (Eds.). In M. Naveh-Benjamin & N. Ohta (Eds.), Memory and Aging: Current Issues and Future Directions. New York: Psychology Press, ISBN 978-1-84872-918-6.

Howard, J.H. Jr., & Howard, D.V. (2013). Aging mind and brain: is implicit learning spared in healthy aging? Frontiers in Psychology.

Gamble, K.R., Cummings, T.J. Jr., Lo, S.E., Ghosh, P.T., Howard, J.H. Jr., & Howard, D.V. (2014). Implicit sequence learning in people with Parkinson's Disease. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 

Stillman, C.M., Feldman, H., Wambach, C.G. ,Howard, J.H. Jr., & Howard, D.V. (2014). Dispositional mindfulness is associated with reduced implicit learning. Consciousness and Cognition, 28, 141-150. Consciousness and Cognition, 28, 141-150.


Psychology 625: Psychological Perspectives on Aging (Spring, 2016)