Current Research Projects
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.
1. Mind Wandering in Text Comprehension. This project looks at age differences in the occurrence of mind wandering episodes during text comprehension. Adapted from Schooler, Reichle, and Halpern (2005), the paradigm entails reading the first five chapters of Tolstoy's War & Peace while being probed by the computer for mind wandering occurrences. So far, we have found that older people mind wander less than younger people, and we attribute this to the decreased working memory capacity of the older folks. We are currently trying to replicate these findings with a modified version of the reading task, in which we control for the time participants take to read the story by estimating their normal reading speed.
Graduate Student Overlord: Sabine Krawietz
Automated Knowledge Capture
The Automated Knowledge Capture Project focuses on when and how people change strategies when completing a task.
This project is about the development of COCOA (Concentration Or Control Of Attention), a self-report scale measuring concentration abilities. It assesses one's ability to focus or concentrate on everyday behaviors such as reading, listening, and driving and can be used in various applied as well as resarch-oriented scenarios. Studies have shown that COCOA has good reliability and validity with other self-report measures of ADHD, mindfulness, and boredom pronesses as well as a behavioral measure of concentration (Frankfurt Attention and Concentration Test; Moosbrugger & Goldhammer, 2006).
Graduate Student Overlord: Sabine Krawietz
Long-Term Memory Consolidation
The aim of the LTM consolidation project is to assess different factors that can influence the process of strengthening memories over time. We are focusing on two major influential factors, including sleep and exercise.
1. Sleep. It has been well documented that the process of memory consolidation happens at night, while we are sleeping. We are interested in looking at what happens to your memories when sleep is disrupted during the night, by testing memory capabilities of people with sleep apnea. This is a condition where the airway is periodically blocked while sleeping, causing the person to wake up to get more air. Memory for pictures and sentences are compared for patients with untreated sleep apnea, treated sleep apnea, and no sleep apnea.
2. Exercise. Regular exercise has been shown to increase memory and other cognitive abilities over time. However, few studies have looking at the immediate effects of exercise on memory consolidation. In this set of studies, consolidation capabilities for different types of memories, including procedural and declarative memories, are compared with 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, anaerobic exercise, and no exercise
Long-term potentiation is the strengthening of connections between neurons, and seems to be how neurons can code memories. Much research has been done to investigate how the strengthening occurs, but it is difficult to measure chemical signals between neurons on a molecular level. However, we have teamed up with nanotechnology research to develop a way to track single molecules as they are passed back and forth between neurons. Tracking single molecules will allow us to determine the molecular basis of memory formation.
This project focuses on social influences that may affect memory for information. The current study is assessing whether moral bias alters memories.
Moving Through Space
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.
3. Goal monitoring. In this subproject, people navigate a virtual space while being given a series of constantly changing goals. The aim is to assess how goal maintenance is affected by movement through space, such as walking through doorways.
Graduate Student Overlords: Andrea Tamplin & Sabine Krawietz
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.
Graduate Student Overlord: Windy McNerney
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
These are the three lectures used to assess the impact of taking lecture notes on later memory..pdf
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
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
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
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
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