Psychology People Section header


« Return to list of Faculty

Amber Watts

Amber Watts

Assistant Professor
Clinical Psychology

Ph.D., 2009, University of Southern California
Research Areas: Clinical Health Psychology, Aging & Alzheimer's disease

Related Links
Clinical Psychology Program
Clinical Health Psychology

Research Interests

My research investigates health behaviors, prevention strategies, and bio-behavioral processes associated with cognitive decline & dementia. My current research projects focus on the effect of physical activity on health and cognitive function in older adults with and without Alzheimer's disease. My lab uses portable electronic devices to measure physical activity and sedentary behavior in cooperation with the KU Alzheimer's Disease Center in Kansas City.


PSYC 380: Brain & Pathology
PSYC 432: Behavioral Genetics
PSYC 690: Health & Aging
PSYC 815: Developmental Research Methods
CRMDA Summer Institute: Randomized Controlled Trials

Selected Publications

Watts, A., Loskutova, N., Johnson, D. K., & Burns, J. (2013). Metabolic syndrome and cognitive decline in early Alzheimer’s disease and healthy older adults. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 35, 253-265.

Watts, A., Vidoni, E., Loskutova, N., Johnson, D. K., & Burns, J. (2013). Measuring physical activity in older adults with and without Alzheimer’s disease. Clinical Gerontologist, 36(4), 1-20.

Johnson, D. K., Watts, A., Chapin, B. A., Anderson, R., & Burns, J. M. (2011). Neuropsychiatric profiles in dementia. Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders.

Wang, L., Watts, A., Anderson, R., & Little, T. (2011). Common fallacies in quantitative research methodology. In T. D. Little (Ed.) Oxford Handbook of Quantitative Methods. New York: Oxford University Press.

Burns, J. M., Johnson, D. K., Watts, A., Swerdlow, R., & Brooks, W. M. (2010). Reduced lean mass in early Alzheimer disease and its association with brain atrophy. Archives of Neurology, 67(4), 428-433.

Zelinski, E. M., Kennison, R. F., Watts, A., & Lewis, K. L. (2009). Convergence between cross-sectional and longitudinal studies: Cohort matters. In H. B. Bosworth & C. Hertzog (Eds.), Aging and cognition: Research methodologies and empirical advances. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Watts, A., Crimmins, E. M., & Gatz, M. (2008). Inflammation as a potential mediator for the Association between periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 4(5), 865-876.

Selected Grant Funded Research Projects


A. Watts (PI)
Neighborhood Characteristics, Walking, and Sedentary Behavior in AD
KU-Alzheimer's Disease Center Pilot Award


A. Watts (PI)
The Effects of Sedentary Behavior and Metabolic Syndrome on Cognitive Performance
Clinical Award Repayment Program
NIH Loan Repayment Program


A. Watts (PI)
Measuring unstructured physical activity in older adults with and without Alzheimer's disease
Frontiers Pilot and Collaborative Studies; Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA)
University of Kansas Medical Center


K. Diaz-Moore & A. Watts (Co-PI)
Resilient Lifestyles for Older Adults
Strategic Initiatives Grant
University of Kansas


A. Watts (PI)
The Role of Physical Activity in Cognitive Decline and Dementia
Clinical Loan Repayment Award
NIH Loan Repayment Program


M. Gatz (PI) A. Watts Investigator
Predicting Dementia Risk in Elderly Twins from Indicators of Early Life Infection
NIA Pilot, P30 AG-017265, Center for Biodemography & Population Health
University of Southern California /University of California Los Angeles


The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, retaliation, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies and is the University’s Title IX Coordinator: the Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access,, 1246 W. Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS, 66045, (785)864-6414, 711 TTY.