The vast majority of the projects being done in the Memory Lab are focused on various aspects of event cognition and how they impact human memory.
Walking Through Doorways Causes Forgetting
In this project, 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.
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 distributed 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. The same effect has been found using computer windows and narrative structure to segment event.
Memory for Known Spaces
In this project, 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.
Prospective memory is when people remember to do things in the future, such as going to an appointment at 3:00 tomorrow afternoon. People usually test prospective memory performance by using time-based cues (such as in the previous example) or event-based cues (such as giving a message to a friend the next time you see him). We are currently testing an unexplored type of prospective memory, which we call location-based, to assess how spatial location may influence the way people remember prospectively.
Memory Retention and Consolidation
A series of projects is underway that assess the long-term retention functions that are observed across a variety of stimuli, encoding, and retrieval conditions. These data will be interpreted in light of consolidation theory and formal memory models. This is the future.
Studere Plene Qualitates Recordationis