Research Profile

Marica Cassarino

Biography

I am a psychologist investigating how the lived environment (physical and social) can support health and well-being over the lifespan, with a special interest in ageing processes.

I completed a B.Sc. in Cognitive Psychology and Psychobiology (2007) and a M.Sc. in Clinical Psychology (2009) at the University of Padua (Italy), with research topics ranging from neurodegenerative disorders and wellbeing in clinical settings, to place attachment in older age. I then completed a PhD by Research (Applied Psychology) at University College Cork (UCC), Ireland (2013-2017). Here, I explored geographical variations in cognitive health in ageing using data from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA).

Since my PhD I have expanded my work through PostDoctoral research where I have studied the impact of healthcare settings on older people's health as well as the influence of the physical environment on younger people's cognition and behaviour.
I am a psychologist investigating how the lived environment (physical and social) can support health and well-being over the lifespan, with a special interest in ageing processes.

I completed a B.Sc. in Cognitive Psychology and Psychobiology (2007) and a M.Sc. in Clinical Psychology (2009) at the University of Padua (Italy), with research topics ranging from neurodegenerative disorders and wellbeing in clinical settings, to place attachment in older age. I then completed a PhD by Research (Applied Psychology) at University College Cork (UCC), Ireland (2013-2017). Here, I explored geographical variations in cognitive health in ageing using data from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA).

Since my PhD I have expanded my work through PostDoctoral research where I have studied the impact of healthcare settings on older people's health as well as the influence of the physical environment on younger people's cognition and behaviour.

Research Interests

My general research interests are in Environmental Psychology, Gerontology and Cognitive Sciences.My work embraces a Socio-Ecological approach to human behaviour and builds on Clark’s concept of Extended Cognition (Clark, 1998), according to which mental processes and behaviour are better understood if the individual is considered as a whole system with the surrounding environment. Thus, exploring the ways in which individuals interact with their environments at multiple levels is a key component of my research.

I am a member of the Ageing, Cognition and Multisensory Environments (ACME) Lab at the School of Applied Psychology, UCC, led by Dr. Annalisa Setti and Dr. Jason Chan (www.acmelab.science). Here I am co-leading an interdisciplinary project looking at the impact of the built environment in the local community on the cognitive wellbeing of older people ("Outdoor Lived Environment as “Brain Training” or "OutLET" projext, https://www.researchgate.net/project/Outdoor-lived-environment-as-brain-training).

I am also involved in cross-national collaborations looking at impact of natural environments on human health. 

In my work, I have employed quantitative, qualitative and mixed-methods of research. I am passionate about Open Science.








Publications

Peer Reviewed Journals

 YearPublication
(2019)'Implementing an allied health team intervention to improve the care of older adults in the emergency department: protocol for a process evaluation'
Cassarino, Marica and Cronin, \'Una and Robinson, Katie and Quinn, Rosie and Boland, Fiona and Ward, Marie E and MacNamara, Rosa and O'Connor, Margaret and McCarthy, Gerard and Ryan, Damien and Galvin, Rose (2019) 'Implementing an allied health team intervention to improve the care of older adults in the emergency department: protocol for a process evaluation'. Bmj Open, 9 (7)   [DOI] [Details]
(2019)'Sometimes nature doesn’t work: absence of attention restoration in older adults exposed to environmental scenes'
Cassarino, Marica; Tuohy, Isabella C.; Setti, Annalisa (2019) 'Sometimes nature doesn’t work: absence of attention restoration in older adults exposed to environmental scenes'. Experimental Aging Research, 45 (4):372-385   [DOI] [Full Text] [Details]
(2019)'Testing attention restoration in a virtual reality driving simulator'
Cassarino, Marica and Maisto, Marta and Esposito, Ylenia and Guerrero, Davide and Chan, Jason Seeho and Setti, Annalisa (2019) 'Testing attention restoration in a virtual reality driving simulator'. Frontiers in psychology, [DOI] [Details]
(2019)'Impact of early assessment and intervention by teams involving health and social care professionals in the emergency department: A systematic review'
Cassarino, Marica and Robinson, Katie and Quinn, Rosie and Naddy, Breda and O'Regan, Andrew and Ryan, Damien and Boland, Fiona and Ward, Marie E. and McNamara, Rosa and O'Connor, Margaret and McCarthy, Gerard and Galvin, Rose (2019) 'Impact of early assessment and intervention by teams involving health and social care professionals in the emergency department: A systematic review'. Plos One, 14 (7)   [DOI] [Details]
(2018)'Reducing young drivers’ crash risk: Are we there yet? An ecological systems-based review of the last decade of research'
Marica Cassarino & Gillian Murphy (2018) 'Reducing young drivers’ crash risk: Are we there yet? An ecological systems-based review of the last decade of research'. Transportation Research Part F-Traffic Psychology And Behaviour, 56 :54-73 [DOI] [Full Text] [Details]
(2018)'Effectiveness of early assessment and intervention by interdisciplinary teams including health and social care professionals in the emergency department: protocol for a systematic review'
Cassarino, Marica and Robinson, Katie and Quinn, Rosie and Naddy, Breda and O'Regan, Andrew and Ryan, Damien and Boland, Fiona and Ward, Marie E and McNamara, Rosa and McCarthy, Gerard and Galvin, Rose (2018) 'Effectiveness of early assessment and intervention by interdisciplinary teams including health and social care professionals in the emergency department: protocol for a systematic review'. Bmj Open, 8 (7)   [DOI] [Details]
(2017)'Disabilities moderate the association between neighbourhood urbanity and cognitive health: Results from the Irish longitudinal study on ageing'
Marica Cassarino, Vincent O'Sullivan, Rose A. Kenny, & Annalisa Setti (2017) 'Disabilities moderate the association between neighbourhood urbanity and cognitive health: Results from the Irish longitudinal study on ageing'. Disability and health journal, [Details]
(2016)'Complexity As Key to Designing Cognitive-Friendly Environments for Older People'
Marica Cassarino, Annalisa Setti (2016) 'Complexity As Key to Designing Cognitive-Friendly Environments for Older People'. Frontiers in psychology, 7   [DOI] [Details]
(2016)'Environment and Cognitive Aging: A Cross-Sectional Study of Place of Residence and Cognitive Performance in the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing'
Cassarino M;O'Sullivan V;Kenny RA;Setti A; (2016) 'Environment and Cognitive Aging: A Cross-Sectional Study of Place of Residence and Cognitive Performance in the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing'. Neuropsychology, 30 (5):543-557   [DOI] [Details]
(2015)'Environment as 'Brain Training': A review of Geographical and Physical Environmental Influences on Cognitive Ageing'
Marica Cassarino & Annalisa Setti (2015) 'Environment as 'Brain Training': A review of Geographical and Physical Environmental Influences on Cognitive Ageing'. Ageing Research Reviews, 23 :167-182 [DOI] [Details]

Conference Publications

 YearPublication
(2017)The 65th Jubilee Annual & Scientific Meeting of the Irish Gerontological Society
Marica Cassarino, Rose A. Kenny, & Annalisa Setti (2017) Environmental Approaches to Cognitive Ageing: An Investigation of the Role of Population Density and Disability The 65th Jubilee Annual & Scientific Meeting of the Irish Gerontological Society Wexford, , 29-SEP-17 - 30-SEP-17   [DOI] [Details]
(2017)Communicating Psychology: Getting the Message out There
Marica Cassarino, Eleanor Bantry-White, Jason S. Chan, & Annalisa Setti (2017) Places to Recharge the Brain: Investigating the outdoor environment as a contributor to cognitive health in ageing Communicating Psychology: Getting the Message out There Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, , 02-SEP-17 - 02-SEP-17 [DOI] [Details]
(2017)Urban Space and the Body
Marica Cassarino, Eleanor Bantry-White, Yu-Tzu Wu, Jason Chan, & Annalisa Setti (2017) Urban Space as “Brain Training” – A Mixed-Methods Investigation of How the Built Environment can Support Healthy Cognitive Ageing Urban Space and the Body University College Cork, Ireland, , 09-JUN-17 - 10-JUN-17 [Details]
(2016)64th Annual and Scientific Meeting of the Irish Gerontological Society Developing Cultures of Excellence in Ageing and Exploring the Needs of Marginalised Groups
Marica Cassarino, Annalisa Setti (2016) Physical Activity Modulates Geographical Variations in Cognitive Ageing: Results from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing . In: Age & Ageing eds. 64th Annual and Scientific Meeting of the Irish Gerontological Society Developing Cultures of Excellence in Ageing and Exploring the Needs of Marginalised Groups The Malton Hotel, Killarney, , 30-SEP-16 - 01-OCT-16 [DOI] [Details]
(2016)The Gerontological Society of America’s 69th Annual Scientific Meeting
Eleanor Bantry-White, Annalisa Setti, Marica Cassarino, & Yu-Tzu Wu (2016) Quantifying Environmental Load on Cognition: A Pilot Study The Gerontological Society of America’s 69th Annual Scientific Meeting New Orleans, LA, [Details]
(2015)Connected Sustainability Workshop, 7th International ACM Conference on Communities and Technologies
Annalisa Setti & Marica Cassarino (2015) Sustainable Cognitive Ageing: What Role for the Physical and Social Environments Connected Sustainability Workshop, 7th International ACM Conference on Communities and Technologies Limerick, [Details]
(2015)“Unlocking the Demographic Dividend”, The International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics European Region Congress
Marica Cassarino, Rose Anne Kenny, Annalisa Setti (2015) Urban Environments Benefit Cognitive Ageing: A Cross-Sectional Study of The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing Cohort “Unlocking the Demographic Dividend”, The International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics European Region Congress Dublin, Ireland, , 23-APR-15 - 26-APR-15 [Details]
(2014)Science for Healthy and Active Ageing Irish Gerontological Society 62nd Annual and Scientific Meeting
Marica Cassarino, Vincent O'Sullivan, Rose Anne Kenny, Annalisa Setti (2014) Environmental Risk Factors for Cognitive Ageing: Geographical Location, Social Engagement and Lifestyle Science for Healthy and Active Ageing Irish Gerontological Society 62nd Annual and Scientific Meeting Galway, Ireland, , 09-OCT-14 - 11-OCT-14 [Details]

Professional Activities

Honours and Awards

 YearTitleAwarding Body
2013School of Applied Psychology PhD Scholarship School of Applied Psychology, University College Cork
2014Strategic Research Fund Postgraduate Scholarship University College Cork
2016Irish Gerontological Society Presidential Medal Irish Gerontological Society

Professional Associations

 AssociationFunctionFrom / To
Irish Gerontological Society Member/

Employment

 EmployerPositionFrom / To
School of Applied Psychology University College Cork Lecturer19-AUG-19 /
School of Allied Health University of Limerick PostDoctoral Researcher22-JAN-18 / 16-AUG-19
Liberty Insurance Ltd. & School of Applied Psychology, University College Cork Post-Doctoral Researcher12-JUN-17 / 12-DEC-17
School of Applied Psychology UCC Lecturer (Occasional)08-SEP-14 / 10-SEP-16
School of Applied Psychology UCC Module Tutor/Demonstrator09-SEP-13 / 19-DEC-14
School of Applied Psychology UCC Researcher (contracted by Project)01-OCT-13 / 31-MAR-17
School of Applied Psychology UCC Research assistant01-APR-17 / 30-APR-17

Education

 YearInstitutionQualificationSubject
2017University College Cork Ph.D. by ResearchApplied Psychology
2009University of Padova MASTER OF SCIENCEClinical Psychology
2007University of Padova BACHELOR OF SCIENCECognitive and Psychobiological Sciences

Languages

 LanguageReadingWritingSpeaking
English FluentFluentFluent
Italian FluentFluentFluent

Other Activities

 Description

Science Communication
In June 2015 I received the second prize in the "Three Minutes Thesis" section at the UCC Doctoral Showcase for describing my PhD project in three minutes. Presentation title: "It Takes Two to Tango; Person-Environoment Interactions Influence Cognitive Ageing" (see presentation at
https://tinyurl.com/nx8f3o6)
In January 2017 I won the second prize at the FameLab Munster regional heat and qualified for the national final, for describing the concept of "affordances" and their application to design user-friendly environments in three minutes by using a moka pot as a prop (see talk at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u00tf-yoIwQ)


Blog Contributions

Why Where you Live Matters to Your Health and Happiness. Psychreg - Let's Talk abour Behaviour blog (July 2017)
http://www.psychreg.org/where-you-live-health-happiness/


Finding the Best Places for Growing Old.
University College Cork Postgraduate blog (June 2017)
http://postgradblog.ucc.ie/finding-best-places-grow-old/


Public engagement
I have helped to organise and run the Irish Culture Night at the School of Applied Psychology, UCC, since 2014, engaging the public in my research work and in "Brain Games" activities to learn about perception and cognitive processes.

Teaching Activities

Teaching Interests

I am currently lecturing Lifespan Development and Psychology of Ageing. A significant part of my teaching is dedicated to Research Methods and Data Analysis in Psychology, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

I have also taught modules on Cognitive Psychology.

Contact details

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School of Applied Psychology

Síceolaíocht Fheidhmeach

Cork Enterprise Centre, North Mall, Cork.,

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