Alyssa Arentoft

Dr. Arentoft
Associate Professor
Office location:
ST 318


Postdoctoral Fellowship, Clinical Neuropsychology, UCLA
PhD, Clinical Psychology, Fordham University
MA, Clinical Psychology, Fordham University
BA, Psychology, NYU

Specialty Areas: Neuropsychology, Clinical Psychology

Courses Taught
PSY 310 Abnormal Psychology
PSY 471 CN/S Clinical Neuropsychology
PSY 625 D/L Adult Psychological Assessment & Lab

Selected Publications

Kuhn, T. P., Schonfeld, D., Sayegh, P., Arentoft, A., Jones, J.D., Hinkin, C.H., Bookheimer, S.Y., & Thames, A.D. (in press). The Effects of HIV and Aging on Subcortical Shape Alterations: A 3D Morphometric Study. Human Brain Mapping.

Arentoft, A., Van Dyk, K., Thames, A.D., Thaler, N.S., Sayegh, P., & Hinkin, C.H. (2016). HIV-transmission-related risk behavior in HIV+ African American men: Exploring biological, psychological, cognitive, and social factors. Journal of HIV/AIDS and Social Services, 15(3), 299-318. doi: 10.1080/15381501.2016.1166092

Miranda, C., Arce, M., Fuentes, A., Coulehan, C., Arentoft, A., Byrd, D., Rosario, A., Monzones, J., Morgello, S., & Rivera Mindt, M. (2016). The relative utility of three English language dominance measures in predicting the neuropsychological performance of HIV+ bilingual Latina/o adults. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 30(2), 185-200. doi: 10.1080/13854046.2016.1139185

Arentoft, A., Van Dyk, K., Thames, A.D., Sayegh, P., Thaler, N.S., Schonfeld, D., LaBrie, J., & Hinkin, C.H. (2016). Comparing the unmatched count technique and conventional self-report direct self-report for sensitive health-risk behaviors in HIV+ adults. AIDS Care. 28(3), 370-375doi: 10.1080/09540121.2015.1090538

Sayegh, P., Thaler, N.S., Arentoft, A., Kuhn, T. P., Schonfeld, D., Castellon, S. A., Durvasula, R. S., Myers, H.F., & Hinkin, C.H. (2016).Medication Adherence in HIV-Positive African Americans: The Roles of Age, Health Beliefs, and Sensation Seeking. Cogent Psychology, 3(1), 1137207. doi: 10.1080/23311908.2015.1137207 

Thames, A.D., Sayegh, P., Terashima, K.H., Foley, J.M., Cho, A., Arentoft, A., Hinkin, C.H., & Bookheimer, S.Y. (2016). Increased subcortical neural activity among HIV+ individuals during a lexical retrieval task. Neurobiology of Disease, 92B, 175-182. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2015.10.017

Arentoft, A., Byrd, D., Monzones, J., Coulehan, K., Fuentes, A., Rosario, A., Miranda, C., Morgello, S., & Rivera Mindt, M. (2015). Socioeconomic status and neuropsychological functioning: Associations in an ethnically diverse HIV+ cohort. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 29(2), 232-254. doi: 10.1080/13854046.2015.1029974

Thaler, N.S., Sayegh, P., Arentoft, A., Thames, A.D., Castellon, S.A., & Hinkin, C.H. (2015). Increased neurocognitive intra-individual variability is associated with declines in medication adherence in HIV-infected adults. Neuropsychology, 29(6), 919-925. doi: 10.1037/neu0000191

Thames, A.D., Panos, S.E., Arentoft, A., Byrd, D.A., Hinkin, C.H., & Arbid, N. (2015). Mild test anxiety influences neurocognitive performance among African Americans and European Americans: Identifying interfering and facilitating sources. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 21(1), 105-113. doi: 10.1037/a0037530

Sayegh, P., Arentoft, A., Thaler, N., Dean, A.C., & Thames, A.D. (2014). Quality of education predicts performance on the Wide Range Achievement Test—4th Edition Word Reading subtest. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 29(8), 732-736. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acu059

Coulehan K., Byrd D., Arentoft A., Monzones J., Fuentes, A., Fraser, F., Rosario, A., Morgello, S.M., & Rivera Mindt, M. (2014). The Role of Decision-Making Ability in HIV/AIDS: Impact on Prospective Memory. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 36(7), 730-741. doi: 10.1080/13803395.2014.935705

Rivera Mindt, M., Miranda, C., Arentoft, A., Byrd, D., Arce Rentería, M., Fuentes, A., Arias, F., Monzones, J., Rosario, A., & Morgello, S. (2014). Aging and HIV/AIDS: Neurocognitive Implications for Older HIV-positive Latina/o Adults. Behavioral Medicine, 40(3), 116-123. doi: 10.1080/08964289.2014.914464

Arentoft, A., Thames, A., Panos, S., Patel, S., & Hinkin, C. (2013). A deconstruction of gambling task performance among HIV+ individuals: The differential contributions of problem solving and risk taking. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 35(10), 1036-1047. doi: 10.1080/13803395.2013.848842

Thames, A. D., Hinkin, C. H., Byrd, D., Bilder, R. M., Duff, K. J., Rivera Mindt, M., Arentoft, A., & Streiff, V. (2013). The effects of stereotype threat, perceived discrimination, and examiner race on neuropsychological performance: Simple as black and white? Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 19(5), 583-593. doi: 10.1017/S1355617713000076

Thames, A. D., Arentoft, A., Rivera Mindt, M., & Hinkin, C. (2013). Functional disability in medication management and driving among individuals with HIV: A 1-year follow-up study. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 35(1), 49-58. doi: 10.1080/13803395.2012.747596

Arentoft, A., Byrd, D., Robbins, R., Monzones, J., Miranda, C., Rosario, A., Coulehan, K., Fuentes, A., Kubo Germano, K., D’Aquila, E., Sheynin, J., Fraser, F., Morgello, S., & Rivera Mindt, M. (2012). Multidimensional effects of acculturation on English-language neuropsychological test performance among HIV+ Caribbean Latinas/os. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 34(8), 814-825. doi: 10.1080/13803395.2012.683856

Pilecki, B., Arentoft, A., & McKay, D. (2011). An evidence-based causal model of panic disorder. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 25(3), 381-388. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2010.10.013

Arentoft, A., Sweat, V., Starr, V., Oliver, S., Hassenstab, J., Bruehl, H., Tirsi, A., Javier, E., McHugh, P., & Convit, A. (2009). Plasma BDNF is reduced among middle-aged and elderly females with impaired insulin function: Evidence of a compensatory mechanism. Brain and Cognition, 71(2), 147-152. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2009.04.009

Rivera Mindt, M., Byrd, D., Ryan, E., Robbins, R., Monzones, J., Arentoft, A., Kubo Germano K., Henninger, D., & Morgello, S. for the Manhattan HIV Brain Bank (2008). Characterization and sociocultural predictors of neuropsychological test performance in HIV+ Hispanic individuals. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 14(4), 315-325. doi: 10.1037/a0012615

Rivera Mindt, M., Arentoft, A., Kubo Germano, K., D’Aquila, E., Scheiner, D., Pizzirusso, M., Sandoval, T., & Gollan, T. (2008). Neuropsychological, cognitive, and theoretical considerations for the evaluation of bilingual individuals. Neuropsychology Review, 18(3), 255-268. doi: 10.1007/s11065-008-9069-7

Byrd, D., Arentoft, A., Scheiner, D., Westerveld, M., & Baron, I.S. (2008). State of multi-cultural neuropsychological assessment in children – current research issues. Neuropsychology Review, 18(3), 214-222. doi: 10.1007/s11065-008-9065-y

Sweat, V., Starr, V., Bruehl, H., Arentoft, A., Tirsi, A., Javier, E., & Convit, A. (2008). C-Reactive protein is linked to lower cognitive performance in overweight and obese women. Journal of Inflammation, 31(3), 198-207. doi: 10.1007/s10753-008-9065-3.

Bruehl, H., Rueger, M., Dziobek, I., Sweat, V., Tirsi, A., Javier, E., Arentoft, A., Wolf, T., & Convit, A. (2007). Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysregulation and memory impairments in type 2 diabetes. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 92(7), 2439-2445. doi:

“Research Interests
As a Clinical Neuropsychologist, my research focuses on exploring brain-behavior relationships, primarily through the use of neuropsychological assessment. This involves the systematic administration of neuropsychological tests, which measure how an individual performs in areas such as learning, memory, attention, working memory, executive functioning, language, visuospatial, and motor functioning.

My research explores neuropsychological functioning (i.e., brain-behavior relationships) in disease states using a biopsychosociocultural framework. We investigate health disparities and health-related outcomes among underrepresented and disenfranchised populations. Most of my current work involves individuals with HIV/AIDS.

Current Projects

My lab is currently focusing on:

1) a recently completed, NIMH-funded pilot project examining how healthcare quality predicts the types of HIV medications that patients are prescribed, and how these medications affect neuropsychological functioning in areas such as learning, memory, attention, and motor functioning. We are continuing to analyze this data.

2) an ongoing NIMH-funded SC2 grant examining how neuropsychological functioning (particularly in areas of attention and executive functioning) predicts engagement in various health risk behaviors in HIV+ and HIV- individuals. We are exploring a wide variety of health risk behaviors, from dietary and exercise to sexual and drug-related risk behaviors. We are actively collecting data for this project, and are currently enrolling and testing research study participants.

Broadly, my research focuses on the following areas:

Neuropsychological functioning and white matter integrity in HIV+ adults
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus that targets the immune system. HIV also affects the central nervous system, including the brain. While there is still no cure for HIV, medications have been developed and refined over the last 30 years that can halt or slow the progression of the virus, allowing people to live longer, healthier lives with HIV. However, many HIV+ individuals still exhibit neuropsychological deficits, suggesting that HIV continues to affect the brain, and the patterns and severity of HIV-associated cognitive changes have shifted. A major area of research focuses on understanding these changes and factors that lead to these changes, including how characteristics of new HIV medications may affect neuropsychological outcomes.

Health disparities, healthcare disparities, and stigma in HIV
HIV is a highly stigmatized condition and individuals diagnosed with HIV often face discrimination. Historically, HIV rates have been higher among vulnerable groups, including groups that are disenfranchised and marginalized in this country. Additionally, many vulnerable groups have less access to HIV medical care, receive poorer quality services, and/or have worse health outcomes, including neuropsychological deficits. Such health and healthcare disparities in HIV have been observed among African American individuals, Hispanics/Latino individuals, men who have sex with men (MSM), transgender individuals, and people from lower income or lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Work in this area seeks to better understand the relationship between structural factors as well as biological, psychosocial, and sociocultural factors that contribute to disparate outcomes among HIV+ individuals.

Health Risk Behavior
Health risk behaviors are activities that are linked to an increased likelihood of injury or illness. This terms encompass a wide variety of different lifestyle activities, from driving without a seatbelt, to alcohol and tobacco use, to activities associated with disease transmission, such as unprotected sexual intercourse and needle sharing. My work in this area explores cognitive, psychosocial, and sociocultural factors that predict engagement in various forms of heath risk behavior in both young adults as well as in HIV+ individuals.

Assessment of executive functioning, including impulsivity, in young adults
Executive functioning is a complex construct with many subcomponents. The term refers to higher-order cognitive functions involving neuronal pathways in the prefrontal cortex, and involve cognitive control or regulation. It is disrupted in many clinical conditions, and has significant impact on everyday functioning. However, executive functioning is still not fully understood. In fact, in several neurological disorders in which executive functioning is thought to be a key deficit, still rely on behavioral criteria rather than neuropsychological criteria given the difficulty and lack of consensus as to how to best measured key aspects of this construct. Work in this area seeks to better understand and delineate experimental cognitive and neuropsychological measures that assess specific aspects of executive functioning, self-reported measurements of executive functioning, and what factors may influence performance in these areas.

Research Opportunities for Students
Students play an integral role in my research lab and gain valuable, hands-on clinical research experience. Students may be involved in virtually all aspects of ongoing research projects, including:

  • Administering the research study battery to study participants (including neuropsychological tests, psychiatric interviewing, medical and sociocultural interviews, psychosocial and sociocultural questionnaires)
  • Recruiting, screening, and scheduling research study participants data entry and analysis
  • Presenting findings at research conferences and contributing to journal publications

Students are integrated into the lab using a developmental approach, where they are given increasingly complex responsibilities as they gain research skills and experience in the lab. For example, undergraduate students typically begin by learning about data collection, coding, and entry. Graduate students (and some advanced undergraduates) receive intensive training to administer neuropsychological tests, psychiatric screening, and psychosocial / sociocultural interviews to research study participants. They are also trained in the proper scoring of these instruments.

This experience is particularly valuable for students who are applying to or attending masters or doctoral programs in clinical psychology or other patient-oriented fields, especially those looking to specialize in neuropsychology or gain experience with neuropsychological testing.