- Psychology Associate Professor
In general, my research focuses on exploring the cognitive unconscious, with a special emphasis on unconscious memory. More particularly, my current projects center on three related issues.
It is well established that memory can be viewed as involving both conscious (explicit) and unconscious (implicit) components. How these two memorial forms can be best distinguished with respect to characteristics other than the accessibility of the content to conscious awareness is of considerable debate. That is, what makes an implicit memory different from an explicit memory besides the fact that the later can be accessed consciously whereas the former cannot?
The first branch of my research activities, involves examination of factors that may distinguish implicit from explicit memory. For example, recent and/or current studies attempt to address the following questions. Are implicit memories less abstract than explicit memories? Are implicit memories influenced by factors typically associated with episodic memory? By contrast, are explicit memories influenced by factors typically associated with semantic memory? Are implicit memories more sensitive to context effects than explicit memories?
Although all my research activities examine questions related to the cognitive unconscious, I try to remain open to new directions that embrace student interests. Two additional research directions have evolved from projects developed in conjunction with undergraduate researchers.
The first of these recent research directions concentrates on tests of theories regarding the relationship between math anxiety and math performance. Specifically, attention is directed toward the contributions of unconscious processes.
False memories are formed as the result of unconscious memorial processes. The third of my research foci involves explorations of the factors that influence the development of false memories, and therefore the maintenance of accurate memory. Processing mode and context variation constitute the factors under current examination.