Neil Charness

The William G. Chase Professor of Psychology
Director, Institute for Successful Longevity

Not recruiting a graduate student for Fall of 2024

Neil Charness

Contact Information



Carnegie-Mellon University, 1974

Research Interests

I explore how to use digital technology to enhance quality of life for aging adults through better design and better instructional support using a human factors iterative design approach. I also have interests in intervention science, for instance, trying to boost cognition, improve driving capabilities, and support work activities for aging persons. A past interest is in understanding how aging, which generally degrades perceptual, cognitive, and psychomotor abilities, and skill acquisition, which improves performance, trade off in aging experts (e.g., in chess experts).

Current Research

  1. In the ENHANCE Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center, the AUGMENT project is aimed at designing and testing online tutorials to support older adults with cognitive impairment (due to stroke, traumatic brain injury, or mild cognitive impairment) to enable them to use apps such as Google Maps, Uber to improve mobility and social connectivity.
  2. In the APPT project, the goal is to improve adherence to interventions (e.g., a cognitive training program) by using machine learning to provide tailored prompts to aging adults.
  3. In the CREATE V project, the goals are to use carefully designed technology products to improve quality of life for aging adults, focusing on those with mild cognitive impairment. Projects aim to create an intelligent adaptive system to support cognitive and social engagement (e.g., adaptive computing, VR systems) and to design intelligent tools to support health self-management.

Lab Description

My lab uses applied psychological science methods to investigate ways to improve quality of life for aging adults, those aging normally, and those aging with cognitive impairment (e.g., MCI). We focus on how to design and train the use of digital technology products to rehabilitate, augment, and substitute for age-related cognitive, perceptual, and psychomotor impairments.

Charness, N., & Boot, W. R. (2022). A Grand Challenge for Psychology: Reducing the Age-Related Digital Divide. Current Directions in Psychological Science

Gray, N., Yoon, J.-S., Charness, N., Boot, W. R., Roque, N. A., Andringa, R., Harrell, E. R., Lewis, K. G., & Vitale, T. (2022). Relative effectiveness of general versus specific cognitive training for aging adults. Psychology and Aging, 37 (2), 210-221.

Margrett, J.A., Ouverson, K.M., Gilbert, S.B., Phillips, L.A. & Charness, N. (2022). Older adults’ use of extended reality: A systematic review. Frontiers in Virtual Reality, 2:760064.

Yoon, J-S., Charness, N., & Kohlbacher, F. (2021).  Shaking confidence in technology: Effects of an earthquake-induced nuclear disaster on technology adoption in middle-aged and older adults.  Journal of Applied Gerontology, 40 (5), 500-509.

Harrell, E. R., Roque, N. A., Boot, W. R., & Charness, N. (2021). Investigating message framing to improve adherence to technology-based cognitive interventions. Psychology and Aging. Advance online publication.

Boot, W., Charness, N., Czaja, S., Rogers, W. (2020). Designing for Older Adults: Case Studies, Methods, and Tools. Boca Raton: CRC Press,

Czaja, S. J., Boot, W. R., Charness, N., & Rogers, W. A.  (2019).  Designing for older adults: Principles and creative human factors approaches (3rd Edition).  Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Undergraduate Research

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