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The Psychology Newsletter for Spring 2013 (.PDF, 690 KB) covers updates for the Science IV and V Buildings, profiles some of our faculty and alumni (both Graduate & Undergraduate), and highlights our Honors students and awards winners from 2012.


Human memory studies

Deanne Westerman, PhD

My research is in the area of human memory. Most of my research has been concerned with the processes underlying recognition memory. I am currently conducting experiments that investigate the contribution of perceptual fluency to different types of recognition tasks.

It has been theorized that recognition memory decisions are determined, in part, by the perceptual fluency of the recognition probe. The relationship between perceptual fluency and recognition memory appears to be mediated by an attributional process whereby an enhanced level of fluency is interpreted as a sign that a stimulus has occurred in the past. That is, fluency is used as a heuristic in recognition memory decisions.

The work that is currently being conducted in my lab investigates the degree to which fluency contributes to different types of recognition decision (e.g. Westerman, 2001), and the degree to which perceptual changes and the strength of the memory trace moderate the role that fluency plays in recognition decisions (e.g., Lloyd, Westerman & Miller, in press; Westerman, Lloyd, & Miller, in press; Westerman, Miller, & Lloyd, submitted). Our research on this topic suggests the attributional process that mediates the link between perceptual fluency is very sophisticated and is subject to meta-cognitive control.

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Last Updated: 3/22/11