Memory organization over time

Mentor: Dr. Morgan Barense

Dr. Morgan Barense

Project Description

A hallmark of human behavior is the recounting of experiences and the retelling of our past. When we first recall a recent event, we tend to include lots of details about the event, but as the event fades in our memory, the access to details decreases, potentially changing the way we recall the event. Prior research has found that we chunk and segment our ongoing experiences according to salient boundaries (e.g., change in context, conversation topic, introduction of new person) and that these boundaries affect how information is retrieved. It is still unknown, however, how the segmentation of our experiences changes over time, and as a result, how the organization of our memories changes over time.

For this project, we will use Pixar shorts as a naturalistic, verifiable events. Participants will watch the videos and segment them into discrete events whenever they feel like a boundary occurred. Later, participants will recall the videos at different delays. We will compare segmentation patterns as memory for the video ages. This study will offer the first investigation of how event segmentation changes with the passage of time, determining how the structure of memory changes as details fade.

By taking part in this project, the student will gain skills in computer programming (PsychoPy), data management, statistical analysis (software package R), and research administration. We also hope that the student will contribute to presenting these results at conferences and writing them up for publication. We will closely support the student in all these roles.

Mentorship Statement

From the moment a new student enters our lab, we make a commitment to them. This commitment includes promoting skill development for a research career, but also a supportive and inclusive community that fosters career mentorship (for academia or otherwise), skill development, and overall scholarship. Each member of the lab Ð at every level Ð has ownership over their research and intellectual trajectory and knows that they are a meaningful part of the lab’s global research program. Central to trainee success is an environment that values equity, diversity, and inclusion. We are diverse ethnically, nationally (over half of us were born outside Canada), and socioeconomically (over half of us are the first in their family to attend university), which leads to a vibrant environment that contributes to the diversification of ideas. We are very excited to support and mentor you as a rising scientist!

Project ID 235