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Contact Info:
Tufts University
Department of Psychology
Psychology Building
Room 204
Medford, MA 02155

Office: 617-627-4559

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Ayanna Kim Thomas
Director of the Graduate Program
Professor of Psychology


Ph.D., University of Washington, 2001


We frequently learn more about memory from its failures rather than its successes. As such, my research has delved into the various contexts that result in episodic memory failures. I take the theoretical perspective that memory decisions are inferential in nature. An episodic event is not represented as a single unit, but rather a distribution of elements that can be differentially accessed at retrieval. Accessibility to those elements influences both memory and metamemorial decisions. By influencing the accessibility of specific elements, or attributes, I am able to bias retrieval. The result is memory and metamemorial failures. My research focuses on three specific situations related to retrieval bias: bias resulting from accessible encoded attributes; bias resulting from automatic processing at encoding and/or retrieval; controlling bias by improving retrieval monitoring.

Graduate and Undergraduate students interested in working in the Cognitive Aging and Memory Lab should contact Ayanna at ayanna.thomas@tufts.edu.