Jonathan George Hakun, PhD

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    Research interests

    Dr. Hakun is the director of the Cognitive and Mobile Phenotyping Neurolaboratory at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Dr. Hakun's research is focused on the cognitive neuroscience of aging, particularly cognitive and brain health over the adult lifespan.

    He approaches this work through a diverse set of research methods, including:

    • multi-modal MRI-based brain imaging (fMRI, diffusion, and structural imaging)
    • ecological momentary assessments
    • ambulatory cognitive assessments
    • passive sensing technology (activity monitors and other wearables)
    • intensive longitudinal designs

    An overarching aim of Dr. Hakun's work is to link signatures of healthy brain aging to patterns of cognition and behavior as they unfold over the course of daily life. This aim is accomplished by combining multi-modal MRI-based brain imaging with intensive longitudinal studies of cognition and behavior via mobile methods (EMA, AmbCog, wearables).

    A primary aim of Dr. Hakun's work is to reveal cognitive and behavioral processes involved in maintaining cognitive and brain health over the adult lifespan. This work involves mobile, intensive measurement studies of cognitive control, working memory and goal-directed behavior and the psychological antecedents of participation in healthy behaviors. This line focuses on understanding how short-term variation in control of thoughts and behavior affects pursuit of long-term goals (i.e., self-regulation) and how these short-timescale processes support long-term cognitive and brain health.

    A second line focuses on interactions between participation in healthy behaviors and cognitive health. Using ambulatory data collection, this work focuses on associations between participation in healthy behaviors and cognition over the course of daily life. A major goal of this line is to reveal novel aspects of behavior change processes, under naturalistic circumstances.

    Dr. Hakun is also centrally involved with the team at Penn State that is working to develop the Mobile Monitoring of Cognitive Change (M2C2) component of the forthcoming NIH Mobile Toolbox.

    Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

    Education/Academic qualification

    Anatomy and Neurobiology, Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Kentucky


    MA, Michigan State University


    PhD, Michigan State University


    MSW, Rutgers University


    BA, Rowan University



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