Potential PhD Projects
Social influences on memory for repeated events
When people recall an experience in a pair or group, they typically report less information than if each of them recalled the experience alone and information was put together. The most likely reason for this result is retrieval inhibition—the disruption of idiosyncratic retrieval strategies that occurs when people interact during recall. Retrieval inhibition, however, does not typically occur for highly structured materials, where we can expect that all individuals would use a similar strategy to recall the event. Collaborative memory has been typically studied with single-event stimuli, neglecting that many experiences people experience in their daily life are repeated in nature. Given that repeated experience facilitates the development of a schema, would we observe retrieval inhibition if pairs or groups were recalling an instance of a repeated event versus a unique event? And what if participants were collaboratively recalling a repeated event with a partner who would remember the events differently (i.e., would present misinformation)? If the collaborative partner seemed highly confident or rather unconfident?
The impact of prior knowledge on memory for repeated events
People sometimes experience events they do not fully understand. This can happen when people learn the procedures of a new job, when they visit a country with different cultural habits, or when they experience situations with other(s) who have hidden intentions (i.e., grooming). How does the lack of initial understanding impact memory for the experiences? How does learning about the intentions of others only after repeated experiences impact memory for these experiences?
The impact of similarity and frequency on memory for repeated events
In the context of repeated experiences, it is hard for people to accurately remember what happened when. Retrieval confusions, however, follow a predictable pattern: people seem to confuse details of neighbouring instances more easily than details of instances that occurred further apart. Highly similar and more frequent experience may make the retrieval task even harder, likely contributing to increased confusion of details across instances. If that is the case, would we still observe the typical misattribution pattern? For frequency, is there a breaking point beyond which any regularity in misattribution patterns disappears? And would different kinds of similarity (e.g., content and structure) impact recall in the same way?
Repeated events in everyday life
How are repeated events organized in our memory? What recall strategies do people use when retrieving an instance of an everyday repeated event, and does the strategy differ based on the purpose of the recall? Do various event characteristics impact the retrieval strategy? What do people remember shortly after the experiences and following a long delay?
Statements of confidence accompanying eyewitness identification decisions
Eyewitnesses frequently accompany their identification decisions with a statement of confidence. Research has shown that these statements, if collected immediately after the decision without feedback, show a strong association with accuracy. Despite the informativeness of the confidence-accuracy relationship, many jurisdictions are reluctant to collect confidence statements because it is difficult to interpret confidence levels other than perfect confidence. To complicate things further, researchers typically use numeric scales but eyewitnesses in legal settings are typically asked to express their confidence verbally. What is the impact of different levels and forms of confidence expressions on outside viewers in legal settings? What is the optimal format of confidence expression that would be both informative and acceptable by legal professionals?