Monitoring and Control Affects Memory

Learners across the lifespan are generally unaware of the conditions that will result in optimal learning. Researchers at the Cognitive Aging and Memory Lab have examined how metacognitive monitoring and control decisions are made, how that decisions change across the lifespan, and how the conditions of learning and retrieval can be constructed to optimize metacognition.

  1. Decaro, R. & Thomas, A.K. (2018). How retrieval success and task demands drive age differences in self-regulated learning. Psychology & Aging. (in press)
  2. Hughes, G., Taylor, H.A., & Thomas A.K. (2018). Study techniques differentially influence delayed JOLs in sixth grade math learners. Metacognition and Learning.
  3. Bulevich, J.B., Parsow, C., & Thomas, A.K. (2016) Integration is critical for test potentiation effects. Memory, 24, 1267-1277.
  4. Thomas, A. K. & Lee, M. (2015). Improving Metacomprehension by Fostering Active Engagement. In Memory (Moulin, C. & Souchay, C. ed), Wiley-Blackwell, London.
  5. Thomas, A.K., Lee, M., & Hughes, G. (2015). Feeling-of-Knowing judgments (FOKs). In the Oxford Handbook of Metamemory (Dunlosky, J. & Tauber, S. ed), Oxford University Press, New York.
  6. Taylor, H.A., Thomas, A. K., Artuso, C., Eastman, C. (2014). Effects of global and local processing visuo-spatial working memory. C. Freksa et al. (Eds.): Spatial Cognition 2014, LNAI 8684, 14-29.
  7. Gordon, L. T., Soldan, A., Thomas, A. K., & Stern, Y. (2013). Effect of Repetition Lag on Priming of Unfamiliar Visual Objects in Young and Older adults. Psychology and Aging, 28, 219-231.
  8. Thomas, A. K., Balota, D. A., & Lee, M. (2013). Metacognitive Monitoring and Dementia: How Intrinsic and Extrinsic Cues Influence Judgments of Learning in People With Early-Stage Alzheimer's Disease. Neuropsychology, 27, 452-463.
  9. Bulevich, J.B.x, & Thomas, A. K. (2012). Retrieval effort improves memory and metamemory in the face of misinformation. Journal of Memory & Language, 67, 45-58.
  10. Thomas, A.K., Bulevich, J. B., & Dubois, S. J. (2012). An analysis of the determinants of the feeling-of-knowing. Consciousness and Cognition, 21, 1681-1694.
  11. Thomas, A.K., Bonura, B. M., Taylor, H.A., & Brunye, T.T. (2012). Metacognitive Monitoring in Visuospatial Working Memory. Psychology and Aging, 27, 1099-1110.
  12. Thomas, A. K., Bonura, B. M., & Taylor H.A. (2012). The Influence of Semantic Relationships on Older Adult Map Memory. Psychology and Aging, 27, 657-665.
  13. Thomas, A. K. & Millar, P. R. (2011). Reducing the Framing Effect Bias in Older Adults by Encouraging Analytical Processing. Journal of Gerontology: Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 67B, 139-149.
  14. Thomas, A. K., Bulevich, J.B., & Dubois, S. (2010). Context affects feeling-of-knowing accuracy in younger and older adults. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory & Cognition, 37, 96-108.
  15. Thomas, A. K. & McDaniel, M. A. (2007). The negative cascade of incongruent task-test processing in memory and metamemory. Memory & Cognition, 35, 668-678.
  16. Thomas, A. K. & McDaniel, M. A. (2007). Metacomprehension for educationally relevant materials: Dramatic effects of encoding-retrieval interactions. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 14, 212-218.

Overcoming Limiting Factors on Memory Performance

Our research lab takes the perspective that memory is a skill that can be improved. Towards this end, we have investigated factors that limit memory performance, and examined whether such limitations result in transient or persistent limitations. We have found that cognitive factors, (e.g., cognitive effort, task structure) contextual factors (acute stress, stereotype activation), and individual differences in age, diet, and general cognitive functioning can result in both transient and persistent memory retrieval limitations. However, limitations may be overcome by influencing the stability of memory representations, changing the demands of the task, and encouraging metacognitive task reappraisal.

  1. Smith, A.M, Davis, C.F., Romero, L.M. & Thomas, A.K. (2018). Criterial Learning is not enough: Retrieval practice is necessary for improving post-stress memory accessibility. Behavioral Neuroscience. (in press)
  2. Smith, A.M., & Thomas, A.K. (2017). Reducing the consequences of acute stress on memory and retrieval. The Journal of Applied Research in Memory & Cognition.
  3. Dai, R., Thomas, A.K., & Taylor, H.A. (2018). Age-related differences in the use of spatial and categorical relationships in a visuo-spatial working memory task. Memory & Cognition.
  4. Thomas, A.K., Smith A.M. & Mazerolle, M. (2018). The unexpected relationship between retrieval demands and older adult memory when faced with age-related stereotypes. Journal of Gerontology. (in press)
  5. Dai, R., Thomas, A.K., & Taylor, H.A. (2018). When to look at maps: Metacognitive control in environment learning. Cognitive Research Principles & Implications. (in press)
  6. Reid, A. G. Rakhilin, M., Patel, A.D., Urry, H. L., and Thomas A. K. (2017). New Technology for Studying the Impact of Regular Singing and Song Learning on Cognitive Function in Older Adults: A Feasibility Study. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain, 27, 132-144.
  7. Smith, A. M., Gallo D.A., Barber, S. J., Maddox K., & Thomas, A. K. (2017). Stereotypes, Warnings, and Demographic Characteristics Influence Older Adults' Susceptibility to Associative False Memory Errors. The Gerontologist.
  8. Smith, A. M., Floerke, V. A., & Thomas. A. K. (2016). Retrieval practice protects memory against acute stress. Science. 354, 1046-1048.
  9. Perry, C., Thomas, A. K., Taylor, H. A., Jacques, P. F., & Kanarek, R. B. (2016). The impact of caffeine use across the lifespan on cognitive performance in the elderly. Appetite.
  10. Thomas, A. K., & McDaniel, M. A. (2012). The interaction between frontal functioning and encoding processes in reducing false memories. Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition, 20, 443-470.
  11. Thomas, A. K. & Dubois, S. (2011). Reducing the Burden of Stereotype Threat Eliminates Age Differences in Memory Distortion. Psychological Science, 22, 1515-1517.
  12. Thomas, A. K., Dave, J. B., & Bonura, B. M. (2010). Neuropsychological components of cognitive aging. In the Handbook of Medical Neuropsychology: Applications of Cognitive Neuroscience (Armstrong, C. L. ed), Springer Publishing Company.

Eyewitness Memory and Memory Distortion

As a general phenomenon, false memories has been an extraordinarily popular topic for research. Our research examining false memories, memory distortion, and misinformation susceptibility has been primarily concerned with confusions between different sources of information. We have determined that certain sources of information are highly confusable. Further, source confusion is influenced by changing the perceptual and contextual cues associated with specific memories, and by influencing memory access to specific sources of information. Our research has also demonstrated that by encouraging careful metacognitive monitoring of memory sources at retrieval, people can reduce memory errors that may result from these confusions.

  1. Hyman, I. E., Wulff, A., & Thomas A.K. (2018). Crime blindness: How selective attention and inattentional blindness can disrupt eyewitness awareness and memory. Policy Insights from Behavioral and Brain Sciences. (in press)
  2. Thomas A.K, Gordon, L. M., Cernasov, P., & Bulevich. J.B. (2017). The effect of testing can increase or decrease misinformation susceptibility depending on the retention interval. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications.
  3. Gordon, L. M. & Thomas A.K. (2017). The Forward Effects of Testing on Eyewitness Memory: The Tension between Suggestibility and Learning. (Journal of Memory & Language).
  4. Auslander, M. V., Thomas, A.K., & Gutchess, A.H. (2017). How confidence moderates the control-belief memory performance relationship in the misinformation effect. Experimental Aging Research, 43.
  5. Thomas, A. K., Chen, C., Gordon, L. T., & Tenebrink T. (2015). Choose your words wisely: What verbal hesitation indicates about eyewitness memory. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 29, 735-741.
  6. Gordon, L., Bulevich, J. B. & Thomas, A. K. (2015). Looking for answers in all the wrong places: How testing facilitates learning of misinformation. Journal of Memory and Language, 83, 140-151.
  7. Thomas, A. K., Gordon, L. & Bulevich, J. B. (2014). Applications of Cognitive Decline to Eyewitness Memory. In the Elderly Witness (Toglia, M. P., Ross, D. F., Pozzulo, J., & Pica, E. ed), Springer Publishing Company.
  8. Gordon, L. T. & Thomas, A. K. (2014). Testing potentiates learning in the misinformation paradigm. Memory and Cognition, 42, 186-197.
  9. Thomas, A.K., Bulevich, J. B. & Chan, J.C.K. (2010). Testing promotes eyewitness accuracy with a warning: Implications for retrieval enhanced suggestibility. Journal of Memory & Language, 63, 149-157.
  10. Chan, J. C. K., Thomas, A. K., & Bulevich, J. B. (2009). Recalling a Witnessed Event Increases Eyewitness Suggestibility. Psychological Science, 20, 66-73.
  11. Thomas, A. K., Hannula, D. E., and Loftus, E. F. (2007). How Self-Relevant Imagination Affects Memory for Behaviour. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 21, 69-86.
  12. Thomas, A. K. & Bulevich, J. B. (2006). Effective Cue Utilization Reduces Memory Errors in Older Adults. Psychology & Aging, 21, 379-389.
  13. Thomas, A. K. & Loftus, E.F. (2006). Eyewitness memory: Getting more accurate information. Gazette, 67, #4, 30-31. (Magazine of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police).
  14. Thomas, A. K. & Sommers, M. S. (2005). Attention to item-specific processing eliminates age effects in false memories. Journal of Memory & Language, 52, 71-86.
  15. Thomas, A. K., Bulevich, J. B., & Loftus, E. F. (2003). Exploring the role of repetition and sensory elaboration in the imagination inflation effect. Memory & Cognition, 31, 630-640.
  16. Berliner, L., Hyman, I., Thomas, A. K., & Fitzgerald, M. (2003). Children's Memory for Traumatic and Positive Experiences: Relationship to psychological symptoms. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 16, 229-236.
  17. Thomas, A. K., & Loftus, E. F. (2002). Creating bizarre false memories through imagination. Memory & Cognition, 30, 423-431.
  18. Hoffman, H. G., Garcia-Palacios, A., Thomas, A. K. & Schmidt, A. (2001). Virtual Reality Monitoring: Phenomenal Characteristics of Real, Virtual, and False Memories. CyberPsychology and Behavior, 4, 565572.