Psychology
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Psychology

Human Memory Research Group

Human Memory is a vast and fascinating field of study. The research interests of our members cover a wide range of current topics, including knowledge and semantic memory, autobiographical memory, false memory (including ageing), immediate memory and the interaction between memory systems. Therefore, the research of the Human Memory Group covers both basic and applied areas and our work examines memory across the lifespan in both normal and abnormal populations.

Thanks to recent appointments, the Human Memory Research Group has significantly grown in size, influence and impact. We use a range of well-established methods and these include laboratory-based tests of memory accuracy, response time, EEG, eye-tracking and web-based studies. The group also calls upon new and innovative methodological strategies, for example, Professor Martin Conway recently established a SenseCam laboratory to study autobiographical memory. The SenseCam is a wearable camera equipped with sensors that react to changes in the wearer's environment and movement and allow researchers to probe the accuracy of an individual's recall of their own recent and more distant past.

Moreover, our group now includes the newly founded Centre for Memory & the Law. Established by Professor Conway and Professor Howe and including Dr Knott, the centre aims to provide an interdisciplinary approach to the study of memory and the implications for adults and children when recalling information in the courtroom. The Centre for Memory & the Law aims to provide a source of professional expertise and provide a focus for discipline-specific and multidisciplinary research to inform academic and public debate and discussion.

Our members have a well-developed network of national and international collaborators (Australia, Belgium, France, Canada, Italy, Israel, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA). These collaborators contribute to enhancing our research as well as the opportunities for our PhD students and post-doctoral researchers.

If you would like more information on the research programmes of the members of this group, please visit the webpages of individual researchers (links provided below).

Recent news and achievements

Our members have had their research supported by funding from various bodies, including the Economic and Social Sciences Research Council, the British Academy and others. Most recently, James Hampton has received funding (£99,000 over 2 years) for a project on 'Quantum similarity: harnessing the flexibility of human similarity judgments'. (Emmanuel Pothos (PI), James Hampton, Jennifer Trueblood and Jerome Busemeyer). Also, Dr Knott and Professor Howe were awarded £96,000 from the ESRC to examine the role of retrieval processes in false memory formation (2010-11). The research group includes editors and associate editors for major journals in the field, including Cognition, Cognitive Science Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition Memory, Memory & Cognition, Philosophical Psychology, Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. Finally, our members have also taken part in many national and international radio shows (BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service) and collaborated with the media in the preparation of science-based programmes (BBC1, BBC Lab UK).

Sample papers/books

  1. Conway, M.A., & Pleydell-Pearce, C.W. (2000) The construction of autobiographical memories in the self memory system. Psychological Review, 107, 261-288.
  2. Conway, M.A. (2005). Memory and the self. Journal of Memory and Language, 53(4), 594-628.
  3. Gibbert, M., Hampton, J.A., Estes, Z., & Mazursky, D. (2012). The Curious Case of the Refrigerator-TV: Similarity and Hybridization. Cognitive Science, 36,992-1018.
  4. Hampton, J.A. (2012). Thinking intuitively: The rich (and at times illogical) world of concepts. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 21, 398-402.
  5. Hampton, J.A., Aina, B., Andersson, J.M., Mirza, H., & Parmar, S. (2012). The Rumsfeld Effect: the Unknown Unknown. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory & Cognition, 38, 340-353.
  6. Howe, M. L. (2013). Memory development: Implications for adults recalling childhood experiences in the courtroom. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 14 (doi: 10.1038/nrn3627).
  7. Knott, L.M., Dewhurst, S. and Howe, M. (2012) What factors underlie associative and categorical memory illusions? The roles of Backward Associative Strength and inter-item connectivity. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 38 (1), 229-239.
  8. Le Pelley, M. E., Reimers, S. J., Calvini, G., Spears, R., Beesley, T., & Murphy, R. A. (2010). Stereotype formation: Biased by association. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 139, 138-161.
  9. Murphy, G.L., Hampton, J.A., & Milovanic, G.S. (2012). Semantic Memory Redux: An Experimental Test of Hierarchical Category Representation. Journal of Memory and Language, 67, 521-539.
  10. Poirier, M., Gaigg, S.B., & Bowler, D.M. (2011). Memory over the short-term in Asperger's syndrome. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 120(1):247-252
  11. Poirier, M., Nairne, J.S., Morin, C., Zimmerman, F., Koutmeridou, K., Fowler, J. (2012). Memory as Discrimination: A Challenge to the Encoding-Retrieval Match Principle. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 38(1), Jan, 16-29.
  12. Stewart, N., Reimers, S., & Harris, A. J. (in press). On the origin of utility, weighting, and discounting functions: How they get their shapes and how to change their shapes. Management Science

Contribution to teaching:

Our teaching is a central component of the BSc programme, with three core modules in Cognition, plus a range of third year options that highlight the research expertise of our staff. For example, Memory and the Law examines the role that memory plays in legal proceedings and the forensic context. This module is delivered by Professor Howe with contributions from Professor Conway and Dr Knott. Similarly, The Psychology of Time, run by Dr Reimers covers aspects of memory over periods of time from seconds to decades. We also supervise a wide variety of final year honours projects, producing work that is regularly presented within international conferences and published in top journals. Members of the group also contribute to other courses, including the MSc in Research Methods and the MSc in Innovation, Creativity & Leadership which is run in the interdisciplinary Centre for Creativity.

Members of the Human Memory Research Group

Academics

Martin Conway, Pavlos Filippopoulous, James Hampton, Mark Howe, Lauren Knott, Marie Poirer, Stian Reimers and Lydia Tan.

PhD students

Alida Acosta (joint with the Autism Research Group), Amanda Green, Cassandra Bland, Lauren Daniel, Pritha Dhir, Nadia Faghani, Maria Hellenthal, Ali Mair, Mobina Nouri (joint with Informatics).

Distinguished visitors/post-doctoral fellows in recent years

Dr Steffen Borge (Trondheim University, Norway, ESF fellowship) 2013-14

Dr Martin Jönsson (Lund University, Sweden, Swedish Research Council fellowship) 2011-13

Dr Alessia Passanisi (Enna University, Sicily) 2010-14