Pandemic Emotional Impact Study (PEIS)

Research Background


The relationship between the way we recollect and appraise events and what impact our current circumstances have on our emotional well-being is likely to be emphasized during a population-level stressful event, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, the relationship between a population-level environmental stressor and emotional well-being has been largely unassessed due to its unpredictability and infrequency. The current COVID-19 pandemic and the impending mass vaccination present an unprecedented opportunity to expand our understanding of the neurobehavioral impacts of environmental stressors beyond lab-based experiments and specific stressors, such as divorce. We seek to characterize how the presence of such a global environmental stressor may change how one recollects and appraises not only ongoing daily activities (e.g., grocery shopping), but also past life events (e.g., marriage), that may be recollected or appraised differently under stress.

Study Aims

  • This study seeks to compare emotional well-being and brain activity during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this pilot study is to establish whether a global-scale environmental stressor, such as a pandemic, may impact how individuals recollect and appraise their life experiences.

Study Participation 

The PEIS study is recruiting adults ages 65-89 years old who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine. PEIS study involves

  • 2 cognitive assessments that assess emotional well-being

  • 2 fMRI brain scans 

​Participants will be paid up to $100 for completion of all study measures. 

COVID Procedures: We follow all NY state and University of Rochester Medical Center guidelines to ensure your and our staff's safety. A mask is required at all times when inside our facilities. We will conduct screening questionnaires and perform temperature checks upon your arrival and escort to our lab. All staff are screened daily and wear personal protective equipment (i.e., gloves, mask, face shield) during study visits. The number of staff and visitors to our lab is limited to those essential for in-person activities, and all interview rooms and equipment are disinfected regularly, as well as before and after each participant's appointment.  

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