Three main streams to our research:
How do we remember the past?
To examine how we remember, we look at how the brain encodes, stores and retrieves episodic and autobiographical memories, past events from a specific time and place. We focus on understanding the contributions of the hippocampus, a structure of the brain that is critical for memory, and the surrounding structures. Our current research is driven by the view that the hippocampus contributes to memory by forming multiple types of associations among elements of an event (i.e., across space or across time). Our work aims to disentangle hippocampal contributions to these associative processes. Because no one part of the brain is responsible for memory, our laboratory explores how the hippocampus works in concert with different parts of the brain to support different types of memories (e.g., vividly recalled memories)
Why do we remember the past?
Our research also focuses on understanding the functions of detailed recollection, or why we remember. A lot of recent work has shown that behavioural and neural overlap between memory and non-memory tasks (e.g., imagination, navigation). Many of this studies have implicated the medial temporal lobes (MTL) and the hippocampus more specifically. Our work pursues the exciting hypothesis that the memory processes mediated by the MTL will contribute to any retrieval task that benefits from the associative reconstructive nature of these processes. Specifically, we suggest that tasks that are ill-defined rather than tasks that are well-defined will recruit episodic memory. This has implications not only for our understanding of memory, but also suggests an added consequence of memory loss.
What affects the way we remember?
Remembering is a very individual process: How you remember an event is probably quite different than how your friend remembers the very same circumstance. This line of work incorporates how individual differences in remembering are reflected in the brain by identifying how differences in the structures and function relate to variability in both subjective ad objective memory abilities. Future work will also incorporate other measures of individual differences, such as genetic variations, to the study of memory