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MEGAN H. PAPESH

I'm an Associate Professor in the Psychology Department at UMass, Lowell, having previously held that title at both Louisiana State University and New Mexico State University. I think I only need the Pacific Northwest to achieve regional bingo (I'm from the Midwest), but I'm going to walk away with the chips I have.

 

My lab investigates human cognitive processes, including the dynamics of episodic memory creation and retrieval (and how those memories influence visual attention), unfamiliar face perception/recognition, and the influence of contextual statistics and LC-NE system activity on attention and perception. We approach these topics using convergent techniques; we use classic behavioral paradigms, but also more modern tools, including eye-tracking, mouse-tracking, pupillometry, and single-unit recording. Our overarching goal is to develop a richer theoretical and applied understanding of the processes by which episodic memory influences real-time cognitive processes. 

 

Please note: This website is (perpetually) under construction.

SOME RECENT (ACCEPTED/PUBLISHED) RESEARCH

See the Cool New Stuff page for not-yet-published items!

Recently published at Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics, Juan Guevara Pinto and I found that manipulations of target prevalence affect the availability of parafoveal and peripheral visual information (sometimes called the functional viewing field, the useful field of view, attentional span, etc.). Specifically, using standard array-based search, gaze-contingent displays (right), and rapid serial visual presentation, we found that when people frequently encounter targets, their viewing fields are smaller than when they regularly encounter targets. We suspect this has something to do with the need to reduce perceptual load for frequent target/distractor discriminations, but stay tuned for follow-ups!

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Recently published at Applied Cognitive Psychology, we (Cash et al.) examined how people interpret eyewitness expressions of confidence that are issued before and after lineup decisions. Across four studies, we manipulated the type of confidence statement expressed (numeric versus verbal), whether that statement was accompanied by a featural justification (e.g., "I am positive because I remember his eyebrows"), and when the statement was supposedly given (before or after the identification). Although pre-identification confidence statements are theoretically based only on the quality of the memory trace, and are uncontaminated by other factors (e.g., foils from the lineup), we found that people routinely interpreted pre-identification statements as less confident and less likely to be accurate.  

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