Maître de Conférence HDR en Psychologie Cognitive
Laboratoire d'Etude des Mécanismes Cognitifs (EMC), Université Lumière Lyon 2.
Membre junior de l'Institut Universitaire de France
Forgetting and Maintenance in Human Working Memory
The inescapable forgetting of even small amounts of information in the short term is a striking limitation of human memory that has for a long time attracted the interest of psychologists. However, more than a century of scientific enquiry the causes of forgetting from short-term memory and working memory is still the matter of intense debate. Some researchers assume that memory traces suffer from a temporal decay in the short term, whereas others deny any role of this factor and assume that forgetting occurs through interference between representations. According to decay models, to avoid forgetting, participants run maintenance mechanisms to keep memory traces activated. We know for decades that verbal information can be maintained by articulatory rehearsal. More recently, it has been claimed that all types of information can be maintained through a general, domain-free rehearsal process relying on attention, termed attentional refreshing. Attentional refreshing can be described as a process by which the level of activation of memory traces is restored by focusing attention. In my talk I will present evidence that forgetting in WM can be explained by decay and that this decay can be counteracted through attentional refreshing, a mechanism that is at the center of my research.