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A Developmental Lens on
Health Promotion Research



Clemson University, 2023 - Present

Full Professor, Program Director, Health Psychology graduate program

University of North Florida, 2017 - 2023

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology

University of North Florida, 2012 - 2017

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 2009 - 2012

Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Pediatric Psychology


University of Notre Dame, 2003 - 2009

Ph.D., M.A., Developmental Psychology

University of Texas at Austin, 1999 - 2003

B.S. Human Development and Family Sciences,

with honors

Research Agenda

I am a preventionist with my research focused on the intersection of health and developmental psychology. Models of health behavior change strongly influence my work, but I approach applying these models from a developmental perspective, integrating metatheories such as Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological model, Baltes’ Lifespan perspective, and Sameroff’s Transational model. My research is community-based to ensure the ecological validity and translational potential of my work.

Current Research

I lead a site for an NIA-funded randomized, controlled trial testing the effectiveness of brain games on reducing the onset of dementia (PACT: Preventing Alzheimer's with Cognitive Training, The PACT study is a multi-site with five sites and will recruit 7,600 participants, 65 years of age and older, from June 2021- April 2024. I am currently focused on using this expansive dataset to investigate participant motivation and attitudes and beliefs about their training which could influence their adherence and retention. Representation is critical for the generalizability of findings from clinical trials and makes it critical to understand how to recruit and retain underrepresented populations in research studies.

Want to Join my Lab?

The 2024 application window has now closed. I will accept up to two graduate students in 2025 and accept undergraduate students to my lab on a rolling basis depending on need and fit. I encourage students to sign up for my Critical Inquiry group as an introduction to my work in order to get involved with my lab. Interested students should send an email outlining why they are interested in my lab, the types of relevant skills and experiences they have, and include their unofficial transcript and resume.

Jody S. Nicholson, Ph.D.

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