Within each of us, we possess one of the most efficient information processors in existence – our mind, powered by our brain. Our mind is capable of many processes from selecting goal-related information from irrelevant surrounding information, to representing and manipulating the selected material, and even storing and retrieving the information for use later in time.
However, we know from personal experience that we are not a flawless system. Our mind is far from perfect. Sometimes, we find ourselves attracted to and dwelling on irrelevant information even in the face of important, actually relevant tasks and material. Other times, we have difficulty remembering information no matter how hard we try!
Why is this the case? Why does our mind perform sub-optimally at times, and how can we improve it to optimize our processing capabilities? Through our ongoing research, our lab continually seeks to ground every study in two guiding principles. Firstly, to read the mind by understanding the cognitive and neural mechanisms behind our information processing abilities, and secondly to lead the mind by optimizing our performance using techniques derived from the knowledge of these underlying mechanisms.
Research in our lab primarily relies on complementary neurophysiological (EEG & ERP) and behavioural (e.g., individual differences) approaches.
Visual Working Memory (VWM)
Visual working memory allows us to selectively process a subset of the large amounts of visual information that we encounter from moment-to-moment.
Memories can be modified, updated, and even forgotten after they have been encoded into latent long-term stores. How does our behavior impact these outcomes?
The way we ‘feel’ about the accuracy of our memories can affect how we choose to use and rely on them. However, these assessments of our own memories can sometimes belie memory’s true fidelity.
We are constantly bombarded with visual information that we must selectively enhance and suppress to make efficient use of our cognitive resources. To what extent can we control the allocation of these resources?
The strategies that are best for knowledge acquisition are often more painstaking than less effective strategies–‘desirable difficulties’. Can we identify short-cuts to learning that allow us to rely less on strategies that tax our cognitive resources?