Alexandra Ycaza


Contact Information

Office: UUC 217
Phone: (213)740-9543


  • B.A. Psychology, University of Southern California, 05/2005
  • M.A. Psychology, University of Southern California, 12/2009


Summary Statement of Research Interests

  • Thus far my research has focused mostly on the mechanisms of learning and memory using a rodent model. I examined the degree to which previous learning of a target stimulus interfered with the ability of animals to learn new information about that stimulus. In order to elucidate this process I tested the strength of reacquisition after various amounts of extinction in the Conditioned Taste Avoidance paradigm, which was the basis for my master's thesis. While working on these projects, I found that I was truly interested in the interaction between the age-related changes in the stress system and declining estrogen levels in aging females. This led me to examine whether different estrogen interventions in healthy young rats would result in learning differences similar to those typically observed between young and aged female rats in the Conditioned Taste Avoidance paradigm. Eventually, this work led me to ponder more practical implications for the patterns I was observing. In an attempt to examine these interactions in a human population, I moved to the lab of Mara Mather where I am interested in examining the effects of stress on cognition in women who are using hormone therapy compared to those who are not using hormone therapy.

Research Keywords

  • Stress, Estrogen, Aging





  • Department of Psychology
  • University of Southern California
  • SGM 501
  • 3620 South McClintock Ave.
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-1061
  • Phone: (213) 740 - 2203