Research in my lab aims to explore those cognitive processes that lead to successful remembering by examining those variables that improve veridical memory and those variables that can contribute to false memory errors. I am particularly interested in how memory operates under conditions in which the probabilities of interfering memory errors are particularly high. Projects in my lab therefore often examine memory in eyewitness suggestibility paradigms and also when study materials share a strong association to materials that were either not studied or studied in the wrong context. The overarching goal across research projects is to maximize memory accuracy by finding methods to improve correct memory while simultaneously reducing or eliminating false memory errors.
A factor that often moderates memory performance is that of attentional control, or an individual’s unique ability to actively maintain and process information in the face of distraction. Attention and memory are strongly linked (i.e., one cannot remember something they do not attend to), and therefore individual differences in attention are related to correct remembering and perhaps, whether someone is susceptible to memory errors. I am interested in the role of individual differences in attention (and also personality!) and how they are related to memory performance.
Finally, my lab explores how cognition differs between older and younger adults. Older adults subjectively report attention and memory declines in advancing age and these declines are typically related to empirical findings of attention and memory declines in lab-based tasks. My research often compares older and younger adults using a multitude of cognitive tasks to effectively assess and characterize cognitive declines in healthy older adults with the end goal of mitigating age-related declines. Some projects in my lab therefore evaluate memory training and cognitive intervention programs using memory mnemonics to determine how older adults may improve their cognitive skills through repeated practice. In many cases, older adults can improve memory performance to that of younger adults through consistent practice. I am particularly interested in whether these improvements are limited to the specific memory task or improve memory and cognition more globally. My research therefore examines the efficacy of memory training programs to improve cognition in the aged.