Peter Arnett



Professor of Psychology
Preferred Pronouns: he/him/his
352 Moore Building University Park, Pa 16802
(814) 863-1733


Ph. D., University of Wisconsin-Madison 1992

Professional Bio

Research Interests

In my lab we focus on research issues relating to clinical neuropsychology. In this field of study, we attempt to understand higher level cognitive processes (like attention, memory, speeded information processing, etc.) in the brain, particularly in individuals with neurological diseases. We have two broad lines of research that we have pursued here. One pertains to neuropsychological aspects of multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is a disorder of the central nervous system that results in the destruction of the white matter (in particular, the myelin) in the brain. This destruction is thought to occur through some autoimmune process but the mechanism underlying that process is currently not well understood. MS typically strikes people in their 20's and 30's, just as they are starting their careers/families, and patients typically live many years with their symptoms, so it is a particularly devastating disease. It affects women more than men by about a 2:1 ratio, is more common in geographical regions farther away from the equator, and tends to differentially affect individuals of Western/Northern European ancestry.

In our research on MS, there is a special emphasis on contributors to depression, cognitive functioning, fatigue, and general quality of life in this common neurological disorder. We have also focused on the possible contribution of secondary factors like slow speech and poor visual acuity to neuropsychological test performance in these patients. Additionally, we recently completed a study, funded by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), that explores structural and functional neuroimaging indices associated with cognitive and emotional functioning in MS. In another recently completed study funded by the NMSS, we conducted a Phase III Clinical Trial in collaboration with four other sites that demonstrated the efficacy of an online cognitive behavioral therapy program to treat depression in MS. The first publication from this trial appeared recently in the Lancet Digital Health.  Furthermore, we have recently begun to explore genetic factors that may predict cognitive and emotional outcomes in MS.

For our concussion research, my students and I run the sports concussion program for Penn State, something that involves neuropsychological testing of many of the athletes at Penn State involved in contact sports. We are especially interested in predictors of outcome following concussion, including motivation at baseline, cognitive variability, premorbid personality characteristics, and cognitive reserve. We have also recently begun to explore genetic factors that predict concussion outcome. Finally, we are part of a cross-cutting effort to study sports-related concussion through collaboration among the Big Ten and Ivy League schools.

Both of these research programs provide students with the opportunity to develop their clinical skills and gain experience with two very different clinical populations, while at the same time exploring research questions that have both theoretical and applied implications.

More detailed descriptions of these research programs can be found by clicking on the following link here  (sports-related concussion) or here (MS).

Recent Publications

Select MS Publications:

Arnett, P. A., Rao, S. M., Bernardin, L., Grafman, J., Yetkin, F. Z., & Lobeck, L. (1994).  Relationship between frontal lobe lesions and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test performance in patients with multiple sclerosis.  Neurology44 (3), 420-425.

Arnett, P.A., Higginson, C.H., Voss, W.D., Wright, B., Bender, W.I., & Wurst, J.M., & Tippin, J.M.  (1999).  Depression in multiple sclerosis: Relationship to capacity-demanding memory and attentional functioning. Neuropsychology, 13, 434-446.

Bruce, J.M., & Arnett, P.A.  (2005).  Depressed MS patients exhibit affective memory biases during and after a list learning task that suppresses higher-order encoding strategies.  Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 11, 514-521.

Arnett, P.A., Smith, M.M. Barwick, F.H., Benedict, R.H.B., & Ahlstrom, B.  (2008). Oralmotor slowing in multiple sclerosis:  Relationship to complex neuropsychological tasks requiring an oral response.

Arnett, P.A., Barwick, F.H., & Beeney, J.E.  (2008).  Depression in Multiple Sclerosis:  Review and Theoretical Proposal.  Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 14, 691-724.

Bruce, J.M., Bruce, A.S., & Arnett, P.A.  (2010).  Response variability is associated with self-reported cognitive fatigue in multiple sclerosis.  Neuropsychology, 24, 77–83.

Arnett, P.A. (2010).  Does Cognitive Reserve Apply to Multiple Sclerosis? Neurology. Editorial comment on the article:  Intellectual enrichment lessens the effect of brain atrophy on learning and memory in MS. Neurology, 74, 1934–1935.

Strober, L.B., & Arnett, P.A.  (2010).  Assessment of depression in multiple sclerosis: Development of a “trunk and branch” model.  The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 24, 1146–1166.

Rabinowitz, A.R., Fisher, A.J., & Arnett, P.A.  (2011).  Neurovegetative Symptoms in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis: Fatigue, Not Depression  Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 17, 46-55.

Arnett, P.A., & Strober, L.B.  (2011).  Cognitive and Neurobehavioural Features in Multiple Sclerosis.  Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics. 11, 411–424.

Arnett, P.A., & Brochet, B.  (2013).  How can cognitive reserve in multiple sclerosis inform clinical care? Neurology, 80, 1724–1725.

Ukueberuwa, D.M., & Arnett, P.A.  (2014).  Evaluating the Role of Coping Style as a Moderator of Fatigue and Risk for Future Cognitive Impairment in Multiple Sclerosis.  Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society. 

Strober, L.B., & Arnett, P.A.  (2015).  Depression in multiple sclerosis: The utility of common self-report instruments and development of a disease-specific measure.  Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology.  DOI: 10.1080/13803395.2015.1063591.

Ukueberuwa, D.M., & Arnett, P.A.  (2016).  Examination of the Chicago Multiscale Depression Inventory and Initial Validation of a Positive Scale.  Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 22, 76-82.  doi:10.1017/S1355617715001046.

Roman, C.A.F., & Arnett, P.A.  (2016).  Structural Brain Indices and Executive Functioning in Multiple Sclerosis: A Review.  Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 38, 261-274.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13803395.2015.1105199.

Arnett, P.A.  (2016).  Commentary on Lubrini et al.’s Study, “The Contribution of Depressive Symptoms to Slowness of Information Processing in Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis.”  Multiple Sclerosis Journal, 22(12), 1512-1513. ISBN/ISSN #/Case #/DOI #: 1352-4585.

Cadden, M.H., Meyer, J.E., & Arnett, P.A.  (2017).  Beyond Binary: Exploring the Merits of Three Depression Groups in Multiple Sclerosis.  Neuropsychology, 31, 328 –336.   http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/neu0000346.

Cadden, M., Guty, E., & Arnett, P.  (2018).  Cognitive Reserve Attenuates the Effect of  Disability on Depression in Multiple Sclerosis.  Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology,   33, 1-8.  https://doi.org/10.1093/arclin/acy067.

Ukueberuwa, D., & Arnett, P.  (2019).  Coping style as a protective factor for  emotional consequences of structural neuropathology in multiple sclerosis.  Journal of Clinical & Experimental Neuropsychology, 34, 1-9.  doi.org/10.1080/13803395.2019.1566443



Arnett, P.A., Cadden, M., Roman, C.A.F., Guty, E.T., Riegler, K.E., & Thomas, G.A.  (2021).  Sensory-Motor and Affective-Fatigue Factors are Associated with Symbol Digit Performance in Multiple Sclerosis.  Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.  1-9.  doi:10.1017/S1355617721000540. This article was featured on the Twitter page of the International Neuropsychological Society after its publication:  https://twitter.com/INSneuro/status/1490671696638103553.

Thomas, G.A., Riegler, K.E., Bradson, M.L., O’Shea, D.U., & Arnett, P.A.  (2022).  Relationship Between Subjective Report and Objective Assessment of Neurocognitive Functioning in Persons with Multiple Sclerosis.  Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 28, 1-8.  doi:10.1017/S1355617722000212.

Bradson, M.L., Cadden, M.H., Guty, E.T., Riegler, K.E., Thomas, G.A., Graham-Engeland, J.E., & Arnett, P.A.  (2022).  Coping Style Moderates the Effect of Pain on Depression Symptoms in Multiple Sclerosis.  Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 37, 1-9.

Gold SM, Friede T, Meyer, B, Moss-Morris, R, Hudson J, Asseyer S, Bellmann-Strobl J, Leisdon A, Ißels L, Ritter K, Schymainski D, Pomeroy H, Lynch SG, Cozart JS, Thelen J, Román CAF, Cadden M, Guty E, Lau S, Pöttgen J, Ramien C, Seddiq-Zai S, Kloidt AM, Wieditz J, Penner IK, Paul F, Sicotte NL, Bruce JM, Arnett PA, Heesen C (2023). Internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy (iCBT) program to reduce depressive symptoms in multiple sclerosis: An international multicenter randomized controlled phase III trial. The Lancet Digital Health, 5, e669-e678.

Select Sports Concussion Publications:

Bailey, C.M., Echemendia, R.J., & Arnett, P.A.  (2006). The Impact of Motivation on Neuropsychological Performance in Sports-Related Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.  Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 12, 475-484.

Rosenbaum, A.A., & Arnett, P.A. (2010).  The Development of a Survey to Examine Knowledge about and Attitudes toward Concussion in High School Students.  Journal of Clinical & Experimental Neuropsychology, 32, 44-55.

Ramanathan, D.N., Rabinowitz, A.R., Barwick, F.H., & Arnett, P.A.  (2012). Validity of Affect Measurements in Evaluating Symptom Reporting in Athletes.  Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 18,101-107.

Rabinowitz, A.R., & Arnett, P.A. (2012).  Reading Based IQ Estimates and Actual Premorbid Cognitive Performance: Discrepancies in a College Athlete Sample. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 18, 139–143.

Rabinowitz, A.R., & Arnett, P.A. (2013).  Intraindividual Cognitive Variability Before and After Sports-related Concussion. Neuropsychology. 27, 481–490.

Merritt, V.C., & Arnett, P.A.  (2014).  Pre-Morbid Predictors of Post-Concussion Symptoms in Collegiate Athletes.  Journal of Clinical & Experimental Neuropsychology, 36, 1098–1111.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13803395.2014.983463.

Vargas, G.A., Rabinowitz, A.R., Meyer, J.E., & Arnett, P.A.  (2015).  Baseline Predictors of Post-Concussion Depressive Symptoms in Collegiate Athletes.  Journal of Athletic Training, 50, 250-255.  doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-50.3.02.

Meyer, J.E., & Arnett, P.A.  (2015).  Validation of the Affective Word List as a Measure of Verbal Learning and Memory.  Journal of Clinical & Experimental Neuropsychology, 37, 316–324. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13803395.2015.1012486.

Merritt, V.C., Rabinowitz, A.R., & Arnett, P.A.  (2015).  Personality Factors and Symptom Reporting at Baseline in Collegiate Athletes.  Developmental Neuropsychology, 40, 45–50.  DOI: 10.1080/87565641.2014.979928.

Meyer, J.E., & Arnett, P.A. (2015).  Changes in Symptoms in Concussed and Non-Concussed Athletes following Neuropsychological Assessment.  Developmental Neuropsychology, 40, 24–28.  DOI: 10.1080/87565641.2014.1001065.

Merritt, V.C., Meyer, J.E., & Arnett, P.A.  (2015).  A Novel Approach to Classifying Post-Concussion Symptoms: The Application of a New Framework to the Post-Concussion Symptom Scale.  Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13803395.2015.1060950

Rabinowitz, A., Merritt, V., & Arnett, P.  (2016).  A Pilot Investigation of the Motivation Behaviors Checklist (MBC): An Observational Rating Scale of Effort Towards Testing for Baseline Sports-concussion Assessment.  Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 38, 599–610.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13803395.2015.1123224.

Merritt, V.C., Ukueberuwa, D.M., & Arnett, P.A.  (2016).  Relationship Between the Apolipoprotein E Gene and Headache Following Sports-Related Concussion.  Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology38, 941–949.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13803395.2016.1177491.

Guty, E., & Arnett, P.  (2018).  Post-Concussion Symptom Factors and  Neuropsychological Outcomes in Collegiate Athletes.  Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 24, 684-692.  https://doi.org/10.1017/S135561771800036X.

Merritt, V.C., Ukueberuwa, D.M., & Arnett, P.A.  (2018).  The Influence of the Apolipoprotein E (APOE) Gene on Subacute Post-Concussion Neurocognitive Performance in College Athletes.  Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 33, 36–46.  https://doi.org/10.1093/arclin/acx051.

Merritt, V.C., Rabinowitz, A.R., Meyer, J.E., Greenberg, L.S., & Arnett, P.A.  (2018).  The Influence of the Apolipoprotein E (APOE) Gene on Subacute Post-Concussion Neurocognitive Performance in College Athletes.  Journal of Clinical & Experimental Neuropsychology, 24, 1-8.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13803395.2018.1551519.

Riegler, K.E., Guty, E.T., & Arnett, P.A.  (2018).  Validity of the ImPACT Post-Concussion Symptom Scale (PCSS) Affective Symptom Cluster as a Screener for Depression in Collegiate Athletes.  Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 33, 1-12. doi:10.1093/arclin/acy081.

Riegler, K.E., Guty, E.T., & Arnett, P.A.  (2020).  Neuropsychological Test Performance in Depressed and Non-Depressed Collegiate Athletes Following Concussion.  Neuropsychology, 34, 63–76.

Merritt, V.C., Greenberg, L.S., Guty, E., Bradson, M.L., Rabinowitz, A.R., & Arnett, P.A.  (2019).  Beyond Measures of Central Tendency: Novel Methods to Examine Sex Differences in Neuropsychological Performance Following Sports-Related Concussion in Collegiate Athletes.  Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society. 25, 1094–1100.

Riegler, K.E., Guty, E.T., Thomas, G.A., Bradson, M.L., & Arnett, P.A.  (2022).  Prospective Implications of Insufficient Sleep for Athletes.  Journal of Athletic Training. 58, 414 - 422.  doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-0078.22

Arnett, P.A., Merritt, V.C., Guty, E.T., Riegler, K.E., Greenberg, L., & Thomas, G.A., (2023).  Validity of Post-Concussion Only Algorithms in Collegiate Athletes Following Sports-Related Concussion.  Translational Issues in Psychological Science, 9, 25-40.

Thomas, G.A., Guty, E.T., Riegler, K.E., Bradson, M.L., & Arnett, P.A.  (2023).  Comorbidity or Concussion: Can We Tell the Difference?  Translational Issues in Psychological Science.  9, 79-91.

Guty, E.T., Thomas, G.A., Riegler, K.E., Bradson, M.L., & Arnett, P.A.  (2023). Improving Clinical Interpretation of Performance on a Neuropsychological Concussion Battery by Utilizing Premorbid IQ.  Translational Issues in Psychological Science.  9, 41-50.

Peter Arnett
Peter Arnett


Primary Investigator:

Program Areas:

Adult Clinical