Research Areas

Prospective memory

Autobiographical memory: Involuntary and voluntary retrieval

Memory and ageing

Memory distortions

Ongoing Research Projects Funded by External Agencies

Predictors for carrying out prospective memory tasks in everyday life in early and middle adulthood

Projects coordinator: Maria Wójcik

Ministry of Science and Higher Education (2018-2021): 2017/25/N/HS6/02140

 

Prospective memory in childhood: Automatic versus strategic processes

Projects coordinator: Elżbieta Ślusarczyk

National Science Center Grant (2016-2019): 2016/21/N/HS6/02953

 

In what circumstances does memory conformity effect have positive consequences? The factors increasing accuracy of a memory report after interaction with a partner

Projects coordinator: Aleksandra Krogulska

National Science Center Grant (2016-2019): 2015/17/N/HS6/01093

 

The role of cognitive inhibition in the involuntary mental time travel. A comprehensive investigation of involuntary autobiographical memories and involuntary future thoughts

Projects coordinator: Krystian Barzykowski

National Science Center Grant (2016-2019): 2015/19/D/HS6/00641

 

Finalized Research Projects Funded by External Agencies

Prospective memory in Mild Cognitive Impairment

Projects coordinator: Agnieszka Niedźwieńska (in collaboration with Lia Kvavlilashvili from University of Hertfordshire, UK)

The 7th European Community Framework Programme. Project acronym: PMinMCI (2014-2016)

 

Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) represents a borderline condition between normal ageing and dementia. Individuals with amnestic MCI have a much higher risk of progression to dementia of the Alzheimer’s type than that expected in age-matched normal people. The project focused on: (a) the identification of individuals in the transitional state between normal ageing and Alzheimer’s disease, (b) recognizing memory problems they face in their day-to-day life and explaining underlying cognitive mechanisms.
 

Key research questions:
1) Which specific type of prospective memory processing (automatic or strategic) is particularly disrupted in older adults with MCI and thus can serve as an early marker of cognitive decline?
2) Is MCI characterised by reduction in the number of involuntary autobiographical memories and hence deficits in automatic autobiographical memory retrieval?
3) Is there anything specific about memory complaints of MCI individuals compared to memory complaints of healthy older adults, both in terms of frequency and types of everyday memory lapses they report?

 

Everyday cognition in old age: Compensating for the prospective memory decline

Projects coordinator: Agnieszka Niedźwieńska

National Science Center Grant: 2011/01/MHS6/00681

 

Prospective memory (PM), or remembering to do things in the future, is crucial for independent living in old age. Although there is evidence of substantial age-related deficits in PM, older adults have demonstrated the ability to compensate for their deficits in everyday life. The present studies set out to identify effective strategies of facilitating PM in older adults that may underlie this compensation. In all our studies, younger and older adults play a computer version of the Virtual Week board game (Rendell & Craik, 2000). It simulates going through the course of a day for several consecutive days. Along the way, certain events "take place" during each day (e.g., meals, shopping) and participants have to remember about various prospective memory tasks (e.g., taking medication, picking up dry-cleaning). In Study 1, events either occur unexpectedly or participants know exactly what will happen. In Study 2, we manipulate the presence and type of feedback. In Study 3, we test the effectiveness of various types of reminders in cognitively impaired older adults.

 

Cognitive Mechanisms of Involuntary Autobiographical Memories

Projects coordinator: Krystian Barzykowski

National Science Center Grant: 2011/01/N/HS6/02370

 

Involuntary autobiographical memories refer to memories which arise spontaneously, unintentionally and relate to events from personal past. The key feature of their definition is a lack of any preceding attempt at retrieval.

The main goal of the project is to investigate cognitive mechanisms of the formation of involuntary autobiographical memories in a non-clinical group. The research is aimed at the verification of contradictory hypotheses: inhibition vs. cognitive resources dependency. In addition, the role of associative processes involved in generating the content of involuntary memories will be investigated.

The overriding objective is to undertake systematic research using laboratory-experimental methods and naturalistic methods (e.g., diary method). The project will allow the development of experimental methods for the study of involuntary memories and thus create new perspectives for future research.

 

Memory training for older people with memory problems and its electrophysiological correlates

Projects coordinator: Beata Janik

Ministry of Science and Higher Eductaion Grant: 0220/B/H03/2011/40

 

This project has three goals: the first is to invent a computer-based rehabilitation program to improve memory abilities in older adults with memory deficits. This program teaches strategies and also shows how to use them in tasks, which a person may encounter in real-life situations. The second goal is to compare this strategy training to another training that challenges people to use their memory abilities, but does not teach them about strategies. The third goal is to observe the influence of the strategy training on EEG measures, especially changes in alpha and theta bands during a memory task.

 

Collaborations

Cognition and Emotion Research Laboratory, Melbourne, Australia

Center of Autobiographical Memory Research at Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark