Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
Ph.D. Stanford University
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Yale University
Research Interests: Cognitive Neuroscience, Memory, Cognitive Control, fMRI Methods
Overview: I am interested in how our perceptual experiences are transformed into memories and how we recreate and selectively recall these experiences. Research in my lab makes use of behavioral and neuroimaging methods (primarily fMRI) with an emphasis on applying machine learning algorithms and multivariate pattern analyses to neuroimaging data in order to understand how memories are represented and transformed in distributed patterns of brain activity.
Some of the specific topics my lab addresses include: What are the cognitive and neural mechanisms that cause forgetting? How is competition between memories signaled and resolved in the brain during retrieval? How do we reduce interference between memories during encoding? Addressing these questions involves understanding the interactions and relative contributions of fronto-parietal cortex and medial temporal lobe structures.
Psychol Sci. 2021 Apr 21:956797620972490. doi: 10.1177/0956797620972490. Online ahead of print.
We tested whether similarity between events triggers adaptive biases in how those events are remembered. We generated pairs of competing objects that were identical except in color and varied the degree of color similarity for the competing objects. Subjects (N = 123 across four experiments) repeatedly studied and were tested on associations between each of these objects and corresponding faces. As expected, high color similarity between competing objects created memory interference for object-face associations. Strikingly, high color similarity also resulted in a systematic bias in how the objects themselves were remembered: Competing objects with highly similar colors were remembered as being further apart (in color space) than they actually were. This repulsion of color memories increased with learning and served a clear adaptive purpose: Greater repulsion was associated with lower associative-memory interference. These findings reveal that similarity between events triggers adaptive-memory distortions that minimize interference.