Research in the lab focuses on memory and response selection processes, studied across the lifespan. In addition to basic research, we are working on developing ecological assessments of cognitive function and cognitive interventions.
Main Research Projects:
In everyday functioning memory is often self-initiated, as we often memorize information we constructed ourselves. For instance, we place objects in certain places for short or long durations, we memorize items while browsing in a store, or arrange items that we continuously need for performing tasks such as cooking. While self-initiated memory is an integral part of everyday activities, laboratory tasks focus almost exclusively on memory for information that is provided to the participants. We have recently began to explore this aspect of memory and the encoding strategies that guide the selection of the to-be-memorized information. Extending this research further is important both theoretically and practically. Theoretically, self-initiated memory lies at the intersection between memory and cognitive control, incorporating metacognition and self-referenced processes. Practically, deficits in self-initiated memory may impair everyday functioning in individuals across the life span.
The last decade has seen a large increase in media use, leading individuals to engage with several forms of media concurrently (i.e., media multitasking). This behavior is surprising given that studies spanning almost a century have demonstrated that people are essentially limited in performing several tasks concurrently. Therefore, it is important to characterize those who are prone to excessive media multitasking, and to gain an understanding of this behavior. Research in the lab focuses on understanding multitasking in laboratory and ecological settings. We have shown in a recent study, a correlation between everyday media multitasking and deficits in ecological self-report measures of executive functions and attention, in a typical population of young adults. The results demonstrated that excessive media multitasking was correlated with more difficulties in inattention, impulsivity and a wide range of executive functions including emotional control, self-monitoring, planning and task monitoring.