The #memorylab is quieting down before the winter holidays, and personally, there's no exception. I met with Roddy today to discuss some of our projects as we transition into the Spring 2015 semester. There's dissertation progress, as usual -- four experiments collected and basically analyzed -- but the presidents paper has got us interested in a few ideas involving collective memory. One project is a followup to the presidents paper, and another one is something different exploring recent events in St. Louis. Adam and I are collaborating on this front. The project with Steve is also developing, too.
Inspired by some of the highly superior memory folks we've had come visit (e.g., Nelson Dellis), I've been keeping a paper diary for about a month and a half now to see if it seems to improve my autobiographical memory. My unscientific intuition is that the thing isn't making a bit of difference. I do have some recollection of specific entries (e.g., one in which I was extremely angry), but nothing else feels qualitatively different. Is it a failed experiment so far? I don't know. One nice aspect is that a lot of exciting things have happened for me and others over the last 90 days or so. In that respect, it is nice to have an as-it-happens look at these different events. Will I ever go back and rehearse my memories of these events? Unlikely.
Meanwhile, it's been about three weeks since I switched to my Android phone (a Galaxy Note 4). So far I really like it. I love the size of the screen, the attached stylus, and the flexibility (e.g., if you want to modify the LED colors, you just download an application that lets you do this). I do miss the overall ease of sending text messages with the iPhone, but I think when Android Lollipop gets released for the phone in a month or two, hopefully, on-screen notifications will ease this burden. The device certainly feels further in the computer/tablet direction on the phone to tablet to computer spectrum. Overall, this is OK. I have been having a strange bug involving receipt of MMS messages, though, which I'd like to figure out at some point.
It was a good week in the #memorylab. I made my first public radio appearance on Tuesday, on St. Louis on the Air. You can listen to the 30-minute segment by clicking here. I had a great time, and the folks in the St. Louis Public Radio office were very professional and friendly. Hopefully I'll do something worth inviting me back for someday.
We also said farewell to Steven Smith, who had been visiting WUSTL for the semester and is now headed back to his post at Texas A&M University. He was in St. Louis just long enough for us to put our heads together for the beginnings of a project investigating high confidence false memories for face materials. See a recent paper by Deffler, Brown, and Marsh (2014) for related research.
Deniz and I have been working hard on interpreting the data we collected for the fourth study of my dissertation. Whether it goes into the actual thesis remains to be seen, though, since it is a pretty thick dataset.
And tonight is the first Psychology Department Holiday Party in my six years here that's not being held in Room 216. If you're in the department and have RSVP'd, I hope to see you Upstairs at the Cheshire this evening. The festivities won't be too prolonged, though, considering there's a Frostbite Series 12K at 8:30 the next morning!
Been a hectic week with a paper release imminent and Psychonomics on its way. Not to mention the Thanksgiving holiday is up in a little over a week, too. Well, the good news is with the November holidays over I'll be able to focus full-time on my dissertation again, and get that ball rolling for what should be the final time. Once we hit December it should be a good kind of freefall from there.
Another project I've been thinking about is something that's in the works with Dr. Steve Smith, who's visiting from Texas A&M this year. We're interested in some forensic questions that are a bit more applied than the other things I've tacked in graduate school. Hopefully there will be some interesting things to report in this space a little later.
But, as the title of the post says, with everything that's going on, it's a bad time to have doubled (tripled?) my daily coffee intake. I wonder if it's affecting my sleep, too, although a recent night of sleep (slept in a bit, don't judge) looks pretty unconcerning:
Most of the lab is spending this week gearing up for Psychonomics, the big experimental psychology convention that's being held this year in Long Beach, CA. Perhaps we will see you there! Here's where you can see #memorylab members in the wild (members in bold):
Roediger and DeSoto in Recall I, Seaview A & B, at 1:50 PM Saturday
Putnam and Roediger, Friday Evening Poster 3081
Abel, Holterman, and Baeuml in Human Learning and Instruction I, Regency D-F, H, at 2:10 PM Friday
Yan, Sungkhasettee, Murayama, and Castel at Friday Evening Poster 3097
Hays, Garcia, Finley, and Bjork, Thursday Evening Poster 1114
Did I miss you? Any alumni want to be added to the list? Comment below!
Submitted what's probably the last version of our page proofs for our paper today. This means that it's likely the article will be published sometime before the end of the year, and quite possibly before the end of November -- who knows, it's hard to say. Continue to stay tuned; there's probably nothing more to say on the manuscript until it's published.
Which reminds me that I need to work on an IRB modification to get the task up and online. This needs to happen pretty quickly, so I should stop writing updates and get on that immediately.
Yesterday, I ran the Skippo, a 20K trail race at Castlewood State Park. It was my first time at Castlewood and my first trail race. I finished!
A picture from afterwards:
A few accomplishments today:
Looked over Adam's paper draft that he'll be resubmitting in a few hours. It's looking pretty good. Will try and link to it once it's published.
The majority of the day was spent working on proofreading and editing the Science paper, and other rigamarole associated with getting the publication out the door. The page proofs are looking really nice and it'll be exciting to share it with readers here before the end of the year.
Also spent some time working on a few professional development issues.
Deniz is running seven (or so) subjects as we speak.
And lastly, the day was capped off by a pleasant surprise visit by Andrew Butler, Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. He's a fabulous researcher who is bound to continue a great career in the land of beef brisket.
P.S. Made arrangements for another meeting with the Neon Electrons this Friday.
We're getting up there!
I bumped into an error with my new experiment file so had to re-download it to a memory stick. I'm headed into the testing room now to get the updated copy on all of the machines.
15-E4 was only set up to take 80 different subject numbers, except this experiment's going to require 80 folks at least -- probably more like 96 - 128. So I went in to the source code and increased the range of allowable subject numbers.
I took that as an opportunity to create a new Github repository for the source code of the experiment. You can get to it by clicking here. Since I do most of my coding on the timeline, things don't work as well as they ought to, but you can still download and explore the software yourself if you're interested.
Meanwhile, just noticed this headline about Amazon offering unlimited photo storage to Prime customers. A few thoughts:
Before long, it won't be the space that's the seller, rather, who can offer the best search, organization, filtering, etc. In my opinion Google's top here for the time being, partly because of the auto-enhance features.
The more places can host your photos for free, the more likely they are to be backed up in more than one location. But that also means that's one more place your photo is floating around for someone to access it against your will. Say you take a photo you didn't mean to and it's automatically beamed to an unlimited number of backup systems. How do you ever make sure you've deleted it! Security's also going to be more important in this area.
For lab meeting this week we're reading a testing effect review by Rowland (2014). It is a heroic effort. The main ideas are summed up well on p. 21, in the Conclusions section, where it is noted that a retrieval difficulty hypothesis is supported, whereas a transfer-appropriate processing account is not. Additional support was found for semantic elaboration accounts, like Mary's mediator hypothesis, but the bottom line is that currently, no one unifying account can explain all testing data.
Another interesting finding was that benefits of testing emerged immediately as well as a delay, which dovetails with some things Karpicke has been saying lately about the "crossover" in testing being an artifact of test difficulty and item selection effects.
The somewhat unsatisfying, but honest, conclusion is on p. 22, where it is stated that "the underlying mechanisms that produce the effect remain elusive," and that "the testing effect is likely to reflect multiple memory mechanisms." In other words, there's lots more work to be done.