Our research involves explicit and implicit memory with a particular focus on explicit recognition judgments; that is, the decision that someone or something was an element of an earlier personal experience. The nature and number of processes involved in recognition memory are currently under debate. Using such methods as 1) statistical modeling of behavioral data, 2) examination of recognition in patients with focal brain damage, 3) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of healthy participants during various recognition tasks, and 4) measurement of pupil diameter, we are beginning understand the complex processes which allow us to situate current experiences into our own unique personal pasts.

 

 Current Interests

  1. 1.The contribution of prefrontal and parietal regions to memory judgments.  We are currently examining the role these regions play when one's  expectations about memory are violated and have developed a memory framework in which parietal cortex is central to both judgment biasing and exploratory orienting.
  2. Influence of feedback and instruction upon recognition judgments. Behaviorally, we have found that providing subjects with inaccurate feedback during memory errors heavily affects their recognition judgments. These findings will likely serve as a vehicle for future neuroimaging studies and especially important given that clinical populations often show disturbance in criterion placement.
  3. The verbal content of memory reports and justifications. Our recent work has used machine learning and other statistical methods to examine the verbal content of justifications of recognition decisions.  These data suggest that certain words and combinations of words provided in unguided reports may be diagnostic of particular memory processes.
  4. Pupil dilation during recognition attempts.  We have just collected data demonstrating that the pupils selectively dilated for unexpectedly familiar stimuli (but not unexpectedly novel stimuli) and this suggests that along with fMRI, pupillometry may be useful for understanding the interaction between memory and orienting.

 

Justin Cox to post-doc in the lab of David Badre at Brown University.

Justin successfully defended his dissertation this May and will be moving on to David's lab in the summer.  Justin's work has heavily focused on the influence of feedback on subsequent recognition judgment and he has focused on a probabilistic reinforcement paradigm that seems to yield implicit biases in subsequent recognition judgments.  David's lab will be a great opportunity to strengthen his skillset in computational and functional imaging approaches to examinining interactions between decision making and learning mechanisms.


Diana Selmeczy to post-doc in the lab of Simona Ghetti at UC Davis.

Diana will be defending her dissertation in Fall 2014 and has already secured an excellent post-doc with a lab on the cutting edge of developmental cognitive neuroscience.  Diana's recent behavioral work examining the integration of external cues during recognition will provide a solid foundation for this new research approach and her projects focusing on metacognition and linguistic content analysis will quite useful her future lab.