Current Research Projects

Event Cognition
The vast majority of the projects being done in the Memory Lab are focused on various aspects of event cogniton, and how they impact human memory.Click on the tabs for more complete descriptions of various on-going projects.

Walking Through Doorways Causes Forgetting. This project assesses whether the movement from one room to another, which has been shown to decrease memory in younger adults, influences older adults in the same way, causes them to have more problems with memory, or fewer.

Strategy Shifting
Thia prject looks at the circumstances in which people stop using one stratey to perform a task and switch to another. The model that is being used to asses this builds on the idea that as events evolve, people use the current status of the event, along with memories for their prior performance, to inform their decisions. This has been applied to a wide variety of tasks from figure 8 drawing to stock trading.

This project is focused on looking at how the experience of synesthesia influences memory. Our previously publsihed work has focused on how synesthesia can improve memory for individual words (such as word lists and false memories), but this benefit does not scale up to improve memory at the situation model level. Current work is focusing on whether there are spill-over effects of synesthetic benefit to sensory modalities that are not normally affected, and whether a syesthetic von Restorff effect can be observed.

Reading and Remembering

The aim of this project is to explore how memory for text is influenced by narrative event structure. Recent work is focusing on:

1. Previous work in our lab has found that memory for narratives is better if the stories contain event boundaries than if they do not. We are looking at whether this also holds for expository scientific texts.

2. A standard finding in the narrative comprehension literature is that when an event boudnary is encountered, there is an increase in reading time. We are exploring whether this reading time increase is due to increased effort in updating the event model (the standad account) or whether people are actually reacting to event boundaries as causal breaks because it may not be clear why those event boudnaries have been encountered.

3. When people read, if there are inconsistencies in a text, this disrupts the reading processing, indicating that those inconsistencies have been noticed at some level. Current work in our lab is exploring the degree to which the presence of event boundaries makes the detection of such inconsistencies easier or harder.

4. Using the principles of the Event Horizon Model, we hope to show that the degree to which people segment information should influence the ease with which it is comprehended during reading and later remembered.

Walking Through Doorways Causes Remembering

When a person is presented with a set of information, memory is better for the set as a whole if the information is distrubted among several events rather than being part of one large event. We have found that this is true when people are given a word list and either walk through a doorway halfway through the list or not. We are currently exploring whether the same effect can be observed using computer winows as well.

Walking Thrpough Doorways Causes Forgetting

The aim of this project is to assess how moving through an environment influences a person's memory for various types of information. At this stage, there are three subprograms aimed at looking at different aspects of this. Most of this work involves using virtual environments on a large display screen in induce a moderate degree of immersion.

1. Walking through doorways causes forgetting. In this subproject, people move from one location to another, moving objects either across a large room or from one room to the next. What we have found is that passing through a doorway disrupts memory for a variety of information, including both memory for the objects being carried as well as for pairs of words. This work has also been extended to smaller screens and real world environments.

2. Memory for a known space. In this subproject, people first memorize a map of a building (a research center). Then, after memorization, people navigate through a virtual version of that space. During this navigation, people are probed for their knowledge about the location of items within that space. What we have been finding is that information tends to be most available for the current location, and that locations that were recently occupied, and now irrelevant show evidence of active suppression..

A Novel Study

The aim of this project is to assess memory and comprehension for a very large text, namely the novel The Stone Diaries, by Carol Shields. At this stage, we have already published work on the retrieval of event-specific information and the forgettng curve (including the reminiscence bump). Currently, we are looking at the reading tiem data to assess how various event components influence the reading process.


Materials From Previous Research Projects

Color Word Lists
These are the word lists used when testing synethetes. The words appeared in either (a) black, (b) a color consistent with a given synesthetes experience, or (c) a color inconsistent with that person's experience. .pdf
Confusable Sentences

These sentences are used in studies assessing the degree to which people use event models in making judgments from memory. There are four versions of each sentence, grouped into two pairs. One pair are Confusable sentences that differ in their wording, but are often interpreted as referring to the same event. The other pair are Nonconfusable sentences that differ in their wording in the same way as the confusable sentences, but which are unlikely to be interpreted as referring to the same event.

Sentences .pdf


Directed Foregetting
Here are the word lists that we have used in various directed forgetting studies. .pdf
DRM False Memory Lists
These are the classic DRM false memory lists. .pdf
Duffer & Keir Gender Stories
These are stories for our gender stereotypes study. .pdf
Expected / Unexpected stories
These stories have two versions. In the expected version, a critical inference is expected from the beginning. Whereas, in the unexpected versions, people are misled and then need to alter their inferences to derive the critical inference. The two probe types refer to the correct crticial inference and the incorrect, misled inference. .pdf
Fan Effect
Here are the various concepts that are recombined to form the study and test sentences of a wide fange of fan effect experiments. .pdf
Fan Effect Pictures
Here are the picture files for the picture version of the fan effect study I did with David Copeland. .zip
Functional Stories
These are stories used to show that functional spatial relations are processed more easily and are remembered better than nonfunctional spatial relations. .pdf
Gender Stereotype Stories
These are stories that bias people to infer a gender stereotype which is then either confirmed or disconfirmed. .pdf
Glenberg, Meyer, and Lindem stories
These are stories we used from the nGlenberg, Meyer, and Lindem (JML, 1987) study, and variations that we have done off of this. .pdf
Goal Stories
These materials are stories in which there is a primary goal that is either completed or not early in the story. The aim is to assess how people are maintaining goals as they read, or how they successfully remove them from the foreground of an event model after the goal has been completed. .pdf
History (or not) Texts
For these texts, people read about historical topics or non-distorical analogs, and then took a recognition memory test. .pdf
Integration Task
For this task, people read a series of three-sentence texts that were either continuous or discontinuous and then identified which of several arrangements corresponded to the description. .pdf
Lecture Notes
These are the three lectures used to assess the impact of taking lecture notes on later memory..pdf
Moral Stories
These stories present situations that have moral problems that characters face and then people can probed to assess if they draw the inferences that are morally congruent. .pdf
Multiple Goal Stories
For these stories, there were multiple goals. The aim was to assess whether additional goals would impact the processing of other goals, even though they were nominally unrelated. .pdf
Rinck / Morrow / Bower Stories
Here are a series of stories that people read after memorizing a map of a research center. These come from a series of experiments by Mike Rinck, Dan Morrow, Gordon Bower, and an army of other people. Essentially, the aim of these stories is to allow one to detect a spatial gradient of availability in which the further a room is from a story protagonist's current location, the less available the information is. .pdf
Rhyming Sentences
These are the sentences and word lists used in a variant of sentence and word span memory tests to assess the imact of phonological similarity on performance on these tasks. .pdf
Sentence Span
These are the sentences for the Daneman and Carpenter sentence verbal working memory span test. .pdf
Situation Identification Test
Here are the sentences for the situation identification test. .pdf
Spatial Shift/No-Shift Stories
These stories include critical sentences that have a spatial shift or not and if there is a shift, a critical object may be maintained across the shift, or removed and not be brought into the new event. .pdf
Stereotype Stories
These stories imply social stereotypes so that assessments can be made about whether people spontaneously make and remember stereotype-consistent inferences. .pdf
Temporal Shift/No-Shift Stories
These stories include critical sentences that have a temporal shift or not and if there is a shift, a critical object may be maintained across the shift, or removed and not be brought into the new event. .pdf
von Restorff (color)
These are the word lists used when we studied the von Restorff effect when the singleton was idetified by a unique color. .pdf
von Restorff (semantic)
These are the word lists used for the von Restorff effect when the singleton is idenfiied as being semantically distinct from the rest of the list. .pdf
Word Span
Here is a listing of words that have been used for word span tests. .pdf
Zwaan Time Stories
These stories manipulat the presence of a shift in time. .pdf


University of Notre Dame
Psychology Department
Memory Lab
© 2014