Research Intersts

 

  • The questions that motivate our research all revolve around visual cognition and mostly around visual memory. Specifically, we are interested in how do we maintain visual information that is no longer present? How does the brain represent visual memories across eye movements and over time? What are the neural mechanisms underlying forgetting in healthy people and patients with brain disorders?

 

  • We are engaged in investigating these topics using various research methods including neuroimaging and behavioral experiments, in healthy individuals and patients with neurological disorders. We also develop a new computational framework designed to capture novel, key aspects of visual memory.

 

 

Research Interests

 

Visual Working Memory

Visual working memory

 

 

  • Visual working memory (WM) refers to our ability to retain visual information in our mind for several seconds after the original visual input is no longer available. Visual WM can also be considered as the cognitive system providing access to previously perceived visual representations for more complex cognition, such as planning and problem solving.

  • Indeed, an individual’s VWM competence is a good predictor of performance on these complex cognitive tasks as well as “real world” outcomes such as scholastic achievements and fluid intelligence. It is therefore clear that understanding the limitations of WM have a far-reaching impact beyond the WM field alone.

  • The  processes constraining visual WM are poorly understood. We are especially interested in understanding how and why visual information is forgotten over several seconds in healthy and brain-damaged individuals. We have been studying how precision of memory is affected by the length of retention interval (immediate forgetting). Analog memory tasks (also called continuous report or delayed estimation) turn out to provide exciting new ways to measure immediate forgetting that could not be observed in previous studies mainly because their decreased sensitivity and the use of stimuli which could be easily verbalized and rehearsed, counteracting any tendency for temporal degradation.

  • Our recent experimental studies have demonstrated that rapid forgetting of visual objects is not due to complete loss of information, as previously suggested, but rather to gradual misbinding of object features – for example, identity and location – over time. We also found that patients with focal lesions of the medial temporal lobes (MTL) have a deficit in short-term memory, counter to many prevailing views that this brain region plays a role only in long term memory. Our experiments reveal also that these patients have a greater tendency to forget the correct associations between features, but show normal performance when a single feature is considered.

  • We are engaged in several other projects including the use of short term binding task as a diagnostic tool for assessing memory disorders, especially Alzheimer's disease. 

  • We also wrote a review pinpointing several similarities between forgetting over the long and short terms.

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