The Cognitive Costs and Benefits of Social Technology use in Older Adulthood

Neika Sharifian
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Psychology, College of Literature, Science & the Arts


  • Laura Zahodne


Social engagement is an important protective factor for age-related cognitive decline and dementia. However, it is unclear whether social engagement through social technologies (i.e., texting, social media, video chat, email) demonstrate the same protective effects as face-to-face social interactions. The proposed study will assess whether previously-established social technology measures demonstrate measurement equivalence across younger and older adult populations and are psychometrically sound for use in older adults. 


  • Zahodne LB. Biopsychosocial pathways in dementia inequalities: Introduction to the Michigan Cognitive Aging Project. Am Psychol. 2021 Dec;76(9):1470-1481. doi: 10.1037/amp0000936. PMID: 35266748; PMCID: PMC9205325.
  • Sharifian N, Sol K, Zaheed AB, Morris EP, Palms JD, Martino AG, Zahodne LB. Depressive Symptoms, Leisure Activity Engagement, and Global Cognition in Non-Hispanic Black and White Older Adults. The Journals of Gerontology. Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences. 2021 August 13. PubMed PMID: 34387343; DOI: 10.1093/geronb/gbab153.
  • Sharifian N, Kraal AZ, Zaheed AB, Sol K, Morris EP, Zahodne LB. Measurement Invariance of Social Media Use in Younger and Older Adults and Links to Socioemotional Health. Innov Aging. 2021 Mar 11;5(2):igab009. doi: 10.1093/geroni/igab009. PMID: 33928196; PMCID: PMC8057130
  • Sharifian, N., Zaheed, A. B., & Zahodne, L. B. (2021). The role of envy in linking active and passive social media use to memory functioning. Psychology of Popular Media. Advance online publication.
  • Hamlin, A.B., Kraal, A.Z., & Zahodne, L.B. (2020, November). Social engagement and episodic memory in non-Hispanic Black and White older adults. Poster presented at the 73rd annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America (virtual conference).
  • National Institute on Aging. F31AG067717. Racial and gender disparities in sleep as modifiable determinants of cognitive aging. Role: Sponsor
  • Hamlin, A.B., Kraal, A.Z., & Zahodne, L.B. (2020, August). Which aspects of social engagement are most strongly associated with episodic memory in older adults? Poster presented at the 128th annual convention of the American Psychological Association (virtual conference).
  • Sharifian, N., Zaheed, A. B., & Zahodne, L. B. Social Media Use and Memory Functioning Adulthood: The Mediating Role of Social Comparison Processes. In K. Sol (Chair), Life Course Mechanisms and Moderators of Associations between Social Relations and Cognitive Aging. Paper presented at the American Psychological Association Virtual Conference. August 2020.
  • Martino, A. G., Sharifian, N., & Zahodne, L. B. Active Versus Passive Use Does Not Moderate the Association Between Social Media Use and Depressive Symptoms. Poster presented at the Association for Psychological Science Virtual Poster Showcase. June-September, 2020.
  • Sharifian, N. The Cognitive Costs and Benefits of Social Technology use in Older Adulthood. 3rd annual MiCDA Pilot Project Virtual Symposium. May 21, 2020.