Speaker: Dr. Sue Sherman

Title: Exploring the processes behind false memories using novel stimuli and mindfulness

Date: Thursday October 22, 12-1 pm

Venue: AS4/02-08 (Psychology Department Meeting Room)


False memories can be created for words using the Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM) paradigm in which participants are presented with a list of words such as bed, wake, night, dream etc. When participants complete a subsequent memory task they have a similar number of false memories for the related but non-presented word ‘sleep’ as they have correct memories for the presented list items. Over time, false memories typically persist more than correct memories. The false memory effect can also be extended to more content-rich stimuli such as brand names and famous faces. These stimuli have the potential to shed additional light on the processes underlying false memories. For example, false memories created using these content-rich stimuli not only persist over time but actually increase, posing challenges for existing theories of false memory. These theories can be further explored using the increasingly popular technique of mindfulness. For example, when participants are mindful prior to studying the DRM lists, false memories decrease. Whilst this appears to be consistent with existing theories, mindfulness presents us with a way to tease out additional details of the theories. 

About the Speaker:

Dr. Sue Sherman is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Psychology at Keele University in the UK. She is also the Chair of the British Psychological Society (BPS) Cognitive Section and a member of the Experimental Psychology Society (EPS). Sue has a multidisciplinary background (BSc (Hons) in Computational Linguistics, MA in Psycholinguistics, PhD in Cognitive Psychology) and currently focuses on 2 main research areas. The first, which is the subject of her talk, is false memory. The second concerns public awareness and understanding of the human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer and this research has recently received national and international media coverage. 

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