Marcia Johnson, PhD

Sterling Professor Emeritus of Psychology; Department Chair, Psychology

Research Summary

My lab group studies human memory and considers such issues as the component processes of reflection and consciousness, mechanisms of veridical and distorted memory, and the relation between emotion and cognition. Ongoing research questions include:

  1. A component processes analysis of memory and cognition. What are the basic “processing units” underlying memory? How are these component processes organized, and how do they interact?
  2. Memory binding. How are individual features of experience (e.g., color, shape, location, emotion) bound together to create complex memories? What processes are needed in addition to perceptual binding?
  3. Reality monitoring/source monitoring. How are the memory representations of perception and thought (imagination, dreams, fantasies) alike, and how are they different; and why are they sometimes confused? What is the role of emotion in memory distortions? More generally, what is the relation between our attributions about the sources of memories, knowledge, and beliefs, and their actual origins?
  4. Aging and memory. We are exploring age-related changes in memory in all of the above—in identifying component processes of cognition, in binding the attributes of memories, and in source monitoring. We use cognitive/behavioral and neuroimaging (fMRI) techniques to investigate these questions.

Selected Publications

Full List of PubMed Publications

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