Professors Among Team Honored by APA For Interdisciplinary Research

Charness Boot graphic

The American Psychological Association has awarded its new APA Prize for Interdisciplinary Research to the Center for Research and Education on Aging and Technology Enhancement (CREATE) team, which includes Drs. Neil Charness and Walter Boot of Florida State University's Psychology Department.

The prize recognizes interdisciplinary research teams that include one or more psychological scientists in major roles and have produced significant scientific work. In addition to Charness and Boot of FSU, the CREATE team includes colleagues at the University of Miami and Georgia Tech.

"The CREATE team was selected because the scope and programmatic nature of its work is impressive," wrote Susan H. McDaniel, president of the association, and Bonnie J. Spring, chair of APA's Board of Scientific Affairs, in a letter to the CREATE researchers. "The team members readily cross boundaries among their varied fields, which strengthens the quality and sophistication of their work. The team's long history exhibits the productivity and impact it is having on the field."

"All of us with the CREATE project are honored by this award," said Charness, FSU's William G. Chase Professor of Psychology, a CREATE principal investigator and the director of FSU's Institute for Successful Longevity. "The APA is the leading scientific and professional organization of psychologists in the nation, so to win its inaugural Prize for Interdisciplinary Research for our work on designing technology to promote successful adoption by aging adults is especially gratifying."

Founded in 1999 as a consortium of the three universities, CREATE is dedicated to ensure that the benefits of technology can be realized by older adults to support and enhance the independence, productivity, health, safety, social connectedness and quality of life of older people. CREATE employs a multidisciplinary approach to research.

"The problems we'd like to solve are too big for a single discipline," said Boot, an associate professor of psychology, a CREATE principal investigator and a Faculty Affiliate with the Institute for Successful Longevity. "CREATE pulls together researchers with different backgrounds and areas of expertise. Each investigator brings with them a different piece of the larger puzzle we're trying to solve: How can technology support the health and independence of older adults? We have found this to be a successful approach, and are grateful to be recognized for our interdisciplinary teamwork."

In recent years, CREATE has explored ways technology can improve the well-being of socially isolated older adults and reduce their loneliness. The CREATE team developed software for older adults who have little or no computer experience and now, working with volunteers in Florida and Georgia, is conducting research to determine if older adults can use the software on computer tablets to socialize, to access local and national resources and to support their independence.

At FSU, CREATE also is exploring the best methods to improve cognition and the performance of everyday tasks important for independence such as transportation and financial management.

Another FSU project aims to understand factors that influence technology-based intervention adherence.

The award includes $5,000 from the APA, which the CREATE team can use to further its research.

The full CREATE team, which in addition to Charness and Boot includes Sara Czaja and Joseph Sharit of the University of Miami and Wendy Rogers of Georgia Technology, has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and 50 book chapters and has made more than 300 conference presentations.

CREATE news release 2 December 2016