Melissa C Duff, PhD

Communication Sciences & Disorders
Associate Professor
Summary statement: 

Memory, communication and social interaction

Office phone: 
(319) 384-4702
Office number: 
Office building: 
WJSHC (250 Hawkins Drive)

Concomitant impairments in memory and social functioning are the hallmarks of numerous neurological (e.g., traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease) and psychiatric (e.g., schizophrenia, depression) diseases. Not only are deficits in memory and social functioning common in such individuals and diseases, they are considered among the most handicapping of cognitive impairments. The research in my lab is designed to integrate the study of memory, communication, and social interaction so as to better understand the interactions and interdependencies of these domains in human behavior.

Specifically, our research is aimed at: 1) investigations of the interdependent relationship between memory and language and the contribution of declarative memory to social functioning; 2) characterization of preserved and impaired memory, communicative, and social abilities following acquired brain damage; and 3) development and validation of effective intervention approaches for individuals with disorders of memory and social functioning. Our work seeks to inform theoretical and neurobiological frameworks of memory and social functioning and to translate scientific knowledge into clinical application, helping to improve the lives of individuals with impairments in memory and social functioning.

“Being from New York City, I can tell you that Iowa is… fantastic! Although everything you thought about Iowa is probably true, there are tons of farms, cornfields, soyfields and wheatfields just outside the city, the actual town of Iowa City is very cozy and the people are what make this place special. The eatery’s are common and fantastic, there is a Coop grocery store that sells all your organic, free-range treats and there are a ton of bars to check out.”