Date of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Sarah Raskin

Second Advisor

Dan Lloyd


Acquired brain injury (ABI) affects approximately 3.5 million Americans each year and is associated with cognitive and emotional changes. Prospective memory (PM) deficits are important predictors of functioning in daily life for individuals with ABI. Previous studies have shown that cognitive rehabilitation therapy (CRT) via PM training has a high rate of success in improving quality of life, independence and productivity for ABI survivors. There is limited information on utilizing imaging techniques in relation to changes in cognition and behavior following rehabilitation; however, previous studies suggest that imaging provides evidence that CRT could be related to changes to underlying brain plasticity. The aim of this study was to evaluate what brain areas were activated during PM task stimuli in ABI individuals compared to healthy adults and measure the efficacy of a six-week tailored CRT design. Furthermore, a fMRI post-scan was used to determine if there were changes in the activation of cortical regions associated with the PM task following CRT compared to pre-therapy. 54 participants were enrolled in the study (35 individuals with ABI and 19 healthy adults). and given a neuropsychological battery and fMRI at baseline. Participants with ABI were randomized into two groups and received either six weeks of CRT individualized based on their pre-testing performance or brain education as control condition. Following treatment, the ABI participants received the same neuropsychological battery and a follow-up fMRI. Individuals with ABI performed significantly worse than healthy adults on all sub-scores of the Memory for Intention Screening Test (MIST), indicating significant impairment in PM function. There were no significant changes on the MIST in either the CRT group or the active control group following treatment. The results of this study suggest strong statistical evidence for sub-region activation in frontal, cingulate, parietal, premotor, and temporal cortexes at baseline levels in ABI participants; however, there is no evidence of cortical changes post-therapy.


Thesis completed at Trinity College, Hartford, CT for the degree of Master of Arts in Neuroscience.