Jeremy Manning - What are the limits of human memory?
Assistant Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences
Our memory systems leverage statistical patterns in the world around us to organize and store incoming information, and to retrieve previously stored information. This enables us to recognize the situations we are in and to adapt our behaviors accordingly. For example, your might choose to behave differently on a road trip with close friends versus commuting into work with your boss, even though many aspects of your perceptual experience are preserved across those two scenarios. You might also remember different aspects of conversations from those trips when asked about them later.
In my talk, I will explore the extent to which (and the circumstances under which) these sorts of processes may be manipulated to influence memory. I’ll begin by exploring these processes using a simple word list learning task. I’ll show how we can influence memory performance (specifically, how many words people remember and the order people remember the words in). Then I’ll talk about how these same ideas can be applied to more “naturalistic” memories, such as memories for scenes in a movie or concepts learned in the classroom.