Tanya Duckworth

Tanya Duckworth

Higher Degree by Research Candidate

School of Psychology

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences


I am completing my PhD in Medicine (Neuroscience) through the Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences, School of Psychology.

My research topic is:

The effects of creativity on neuroplasticity and cognition in adults with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

People who have PTSD are at higher risk of Alzheimer's disease than the general population. They exhibit reduced cognitive function in the domains of attention, executive function, processing speed and memory, with corresponding loss of myelin (white matter integrity) throughout the frontal lobes and corpus callosum of the brain in neuroimaging studies. Interestingly, people who score highly on creativity indexes, have formal arts training, or have undergone cognitive creativity enhancement programs such as those delivered in business and design schools, show increased cognitive capacity in these same domains, with corresponding abundance of white matter within the frontal lobes and corpus callosum, in addition to abundant white matter inter-hemispheric connectivity on DTI measures. 

My project aims to  investigate the neural mechanisms of creativity training and the effects on cognitive outcomes (specifically, attention, executive function and memory), with the aim to develop and trial a clinical cognitive intervention program to help remediate the effects of cognitive decline and neurodegeneration in people with PTSD.

I am completing my PhD in Medicine (Neuroscience) through the Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences, School of Psychology.

My research topic is:

The effects of creativity on neuroplasticity and cognition in adults with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

People who have PTSD are at higher risk of Alzheimer's disease than the general population. They exhibit reduced cognitive function in the domains of attention, executive function, processing speed and memory, with corresponding loss of myelin (white matter integrity) throughout the frontal lobes and corpus callosum of the brain in neuroimaging studies. Interestingly, people who score highly on creativity indexes, have formal arts training, or have undergone cognitive creativity enhancement programs such as those delivered in business and design schools, show increased cognitive capacity in these same domains, with corresponding abundance of white matter within the frontal lobes and corpus callosum, in addition to abundant white matter inter-hemispheric connectivity on DTI measures. 

My project aims to  investigate the neural mechanisms of creativity training and the effects on cognitive outcomes (specifically, attention, executive function and memory), with the aim to develop and trial a clinical cognitive intervention program to help remediate the effects of cognitive decline and neurodegeneration in people with PTSD.

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  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2017 Evans, L., & Duckworth, T. J. (2017). Dementia in people with Down
    syndrome: What does the
    research tell us?. VOICE - The journal of Down Syndrome Australia, (December 2017), 5-8.
    2016 Sachdev, P., Thalamuthu, A., Mather, K., Ames, D., Wright, M., Wen, W., . . . Lemmon, C. (2016). White Matter Hyperintensities Are Under Strong Genetic Influence. Stroke, 47(6), 1422-1428.
    DOI Scopus14

2012 NHMRC/ARC Strategic Award Grant, The Older Australian Twins Study - Named as Researcher 

2019 Casual Academic at the University of Sydney


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