List of active projects
Project 1 (schemaVR): This VR project is about looking at the effect of schema-inconsistency on episodic memory. It is based on the work of Lew & Howe (2016). In the planned experiment, schema-relevant and schema-irrelevant objects will be basically presented in virtual rooms at location of varying expectancy. Subsequently, the memory performance will be assessed. To see posts about this project, click here.
GitHub repository: schemaVR
Started: October 2017.
Project 2 (noveltyVR): The experience of novelty can enhance memory for information that occurs close in time, even if not directly related to the experience – a phenomenon called “behavioural tagging”. For example, an animal exposed to a novel spatial environment shows improved memory for other information presented previously. This has been linked to neurochemical modulations induced by the novelty, which affect consolidation of memories for experiences that were encoded around the same time. Neurophysiological research in animals has shown that novelty benefits weakly-encoded but not strongly-encoded information. However, a benefit that is selective to weak memories seems difficult to reconcile with studies in humans that have reported that the novelty improves recollection, but not familiarity. One possibility is that the novelty increases activity in hippocampus, which is also associated with processes that enable recollection. This is consistent with another prediction of behavioural tagging theory, namely that novelty only enhances consolidation of information that converges on the same neuronal population. However, no study has directly explored the relationship between encoding strength and retrieval quality (recollection versus familiarity). We will examine the effects of exposure to a novel immersive virtual reality environment on memory for words presented immediately beforehand, under either deep or shallow encoding tasks, and by testing recall memory immediately and recognition memory with remember/know instructions the next day. We will use Bayes factors to evaluate the evidence for the behavioural tagging predictions: that novelty will improve memory, particularly for shallowly-encoded words, and this improvement will differentially affect familiarity versus recollection.
Status: Stage 1 acception at Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
GitHub repository: noveltyVR
OSF with Stage 1 manuscript: https://osf.io/y72ew/
List of unactive projects
Project 3 (boundaryVR): This project is set-out to explore which factors influence the expierence of spatial boundaries and how they affect memory. A previous study (Horner et al., 2016) let participants navigate through a series of virtual rooms. In each room they encountered two images each showing an object. A subsequent memory test revealed that participants were better at remembering which object preceded or succeeded a cue object if both cue and target were presented in the same (within a boundary) as compared to a different room (across a boundary). In our experiments, we want to find out which characteristics of spatial boundaries (e.g. prediction error, perceptual changes, uncertainty or novelty) are crucial for the effect observed by Horner et al. (2016).
Status: Stopped because of null findings.
GitHub repository: boundaryVR (not public yet)
Horner, A. J., Bisby, J. A., Wang, A., Bogus, K., & Burgess, N. (2016). The role of spatial boundaries in shaping long-term event representations. Cognition, 154, 151–164. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2016.05.013
Lew, A. R., & Howe, M. L. (2016). Out of Place, Out of Mind: Schema-Driven False Memory Effects for Object-Location Bindings. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. https://doi.org/10.1037/xlm0000317