In the Memory & Cognition Lab at the University of Louisville, we have wide-ranging interests. Major research foci are:
Individual differences in memory
Do you have a "good" memory or a "bad" memory? It's not uncommon to hear people make pronouncements about the strength of their own memory abilities. While the accuracy of those self-judgments should be taken with a grain of salt, in the laboratory we can precisely measure performance on memory tests and thereby identify the relatively good performers and the relatively poor performers. We are interested in understanding why some people perform better on memory tests than other people do. We are especially interested in the neural bases of memory differences.
What can be done to help eyewitnesses remember the details of criminal events? How can students remember more of the material from their classes? Criminal investigations and education are high-stakes settings in which memory really matters. While some people might naturally remember more or have more accurate memories than other people (see above), it would be desirable to find ways to help everyone remember as much and as accurately as possible. Enhancing memory performance is a major goal in our lab.
Authoritarianism is an aspect of personality characterized by placing a high priority on obeying authority figures. High authoritarian individuals think society works best when people listen to authority figures. Low authoritarian individuals place less importance on listening to authority figures and may place greater value on self-expression and individual choice. Authoritarianism is related to many things that psychologists study, such as prejudice and political ideology. In our lab, we're interested in why people differ in authoritarianism, which is similar to our interest in memory differences. We're especially interested in the possibility of neural differences between high authoritarian and low authoritarian individuals.