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Welcome to Psychology

From childhood to old age.

Psychology at Heriot-Watt focuses on providing
excellent learning experience combined with strong
and active research culture

Welcome to the Heriot-Watt Memory Lab

 


NEWS - Lab research featured in the New Scientist

Some of our lab's research was recently featured in the New Scientist, see https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28704-sleep-isnt-needed-to-create-long-term-memories-just-time-out/


 

Our research explores forgetting and memory consolidation in healthy people as well as in patients with amnesia (memory impairment). Memory consolidation is the process that strengthens newly formed memories over time. We are particularly interested in the effect of behavioural/cognitive state on the consolidation of new memories: our research indicates that new memories are consolidated better when people rest wakefully immediately after new learning than when they attend to other information immediately after new learning. We have demonstrated in several studies that wakeful rest can be especially beneficial for patients with amnesia (including mild/moderate Alzheimer's Disease), some of whom show remarkable improvements in memory retention under such condition.

We collaborate widely with fellow psychologists and neuropsychologists as well as with neurologists, neuropsychiatrists, animal neurophysiologists, and neuroimagers. 

 For more inforamation about the research conducted in the lab please visit the Memory Lab wepbage.

Lab members:

Dr Michaela Dewar – Principal Investigator

Dr Michael Craig – Postdoctoral Research Associate

Ms Georgina Ottaway - volunteer research assistant

Mr Kyle Omand - volunteer research assistant

Ms Nicola Sobieraj - volunteer research assistant

 

Lab alumni:

Ms Rachael Hastie - former summer research assistant (funded by small grant from Alzheimer's Research UK) now visiting volunteer RA

Dr Serge Hoefeijzers - former PhD student in lab - now a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Dr Mario Parra's group here at Heriot-Watt

Dr Jessica Alber - former PhD student in lab - now a Research Fellow at Brown University, US                                                          

Current final-year project students in Lab:

Louise Bridges – 4th year project student
Hebe Dale – 4th year project student
Stephanie Hill – 4th year project student
Aemon Iqbal – 4th year project student
Christopher Knowles – 4th year project student

Steven Logue – 4th year project student
Renvi Malik - 4th year project student
Catriona Martin – 4th year project student
Scott McElhaney – 4th year project student

George Molnar – 4th year project student
Georgina Ottaway – 4th year project student
Lindsey Pollock – 4th year project student
Austin Ritchie – 4th year project student
Matthew Russel – 4th year project student
Nicola Sobieraj – 4th year project student

                                                                                                                                                                 

Publications:

 2016

  • Craig, M., Wolbers, T., Harris, M., Hauff, P., Della Sala, S. & Dewar, M. (2016). Comparable rest-related promotion of spatial memory consolidation in younger and older adults. Neurobiology of Aging, 48, 143-152. [download here] 
  • Zeman, A.Z.J., Hoefeijzers, S., Milton, F., Dewar, M., Carr, M. & Streatfield, C. (2016). The GABAb receptor agonist, baclofen, contributes to three distinct varieties of amnesia in the human brain. Cortex, 74, 9-19. [download here]
  • Zeman, A., Dewar, M. & Della Sala, S. (2016). Reflections on aphantasia. Cortex, 74, 336-337. [download here]
  • Craig, M., Dewar, M., Harris, M., Della Sala. & Wolbers, T. (2016). Wakeful Rest Promotes the Integration of Spatial Memories into Accurate Cognitive Maps. Hippocampus, 26, 185-193. [download here]

 2015

  • Zeman, A., Dewar, M. & Della Sala, S. (2015). Lives without imagery - congenital aphantasia. Cortex, 73, 378-380. [download here]
  • Craig, M., Dewar, M., Della Sala. & Wolbers, T. (in press). Rest boosts the long-term retention of spatial associative and temporal order information. Hippocampus. [download here]
  • Dewar, M.* Hoefeijzers, S.*, Zeman, A., Butler, C. & Della Sala, S. (2015). Impaired picture recognition in transient epileptic amnesia. Epilepsy & Behavior, 42, 107-115. (*joint first authorship). [download here]
  • Hoefeijzers, S.*, Dewar, M.*, Della Sala, S., Butler, C. & Zeman, A. (2015). Accelerated long-term forgetting can become apparent within 3-8 hours of wakefulness in patients with transient epileptic amnesia. Neuropsychology, 29 (1), 117-125. (*joint first authorship). [download here]
  • Craig, M., Dewar, M. & Della Sala, S. (2015). Interference. International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Wright, J. D. (ed.). 2 ed. Elsevier Inc., Vol. 20, p. 613-620. [download here]

2014

  • Dewar, M.*, Alber, J.*, Cowan, N. & Della Sala, S. (2014). Boosting long-term recognition memory via wakeful resting: intentional retrieval is not necessary, consolidation is sufficient. PLOS ONE, 9(10): e109542. (*joint first authorship) [download here]
  • Alber, J., Della Sala, S. & Dewar, M. (2014). Minimising interference with early consolidation boosts 7-day retention in amnesic patients. Neuropsychology, 28 (5), 667-675. [download here]
  • Craig, M., Della Sala, S. & Dewar, M. (2014). Autobiographical thinking interferes with episodic memory consolidation. PLOS ONE, 9(4): e93915. [download here]

 2013

  • Hoefeijzers, S., Dewar, M., Della Sala, S., Zeman, A., Butler, C. (2013). Accelerated long-term forgetting in transient epileptic amnesia: an acquisition or consolidation deficit? Neuropsychologia, 51, 1549-1555. [download here]
  • Zeman, A.Z.J., Beschin, N., Dewar, M., & Della Sala, S. (2013). Imagining the present: Amnesia impairs descriptions of the present as well as of the future and the past. Cortex, 49, 637-645. [download here]
  • Dewar, M. & Della Sala. Interference with memoryIn H. Pashler (Ed.), Encyclopedia of the mind. (Vol. 13, pp. 4481-484). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. [download here]

 2012

  • Dewar, M., Alber, J., Butler, C., Cowan, N., & Della Sala, S. (2012). Brief wakeful resting boosts new memories over the long term. Psychological Science, 23, 955-960. [download here]
  • Dewar, M., Pesallaccia, M., Cowan, N., Provinciali L. & Della Sala, S. (2012). Insights into spared memory capacity in amnestic MCI and Alzheimer's Disease via minimal interference. Brain and Cognition, 78, 189-199. [download here]

 2011

  • Dewar, M., Brown, G.D.A., & Della Sala, S. (2011). Restoring primacy in amnesic free recall – Evidence for the recency theory of primacy. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 28, 386-396. [download here]

 2010

  • Dewar, M., Della Sala, S., Beschin, N. & Cowan, N. (2010). Profound retroactive interference in anterograde amnesia: What interferes? Neuropsychology, 24, 357-367. [download here]

 2009

  • Dewar, M., Fernandez-Garcia, Y., Cowan, N. & Della Sala, S. (2009). Delaying interference enhances memory consolidation in amnesic patients. Neuropsychology, 23, 627-634. [download here]

 2007

  • Dewar, M.T., Cowan, N. & Della Sala, S. (2007). Forgetting due to retroactive interference: A fusion of Müller and Pilzecker's (1900) early insights into forgetting and recent research on anterograde amnesia. Cortex, 43, 616-634. [download here]

 

Current and previous grants supporting work in the lab:

Personal Research Fellowships (Michaela Dewar)

  • £160,492 – Personal Research Fellowship for Michaela Dewar from the Royal Society of Edinburgh /Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland - 'Improving memory in aMCI via minimal interference', 2010 – 2014
  • £128,754 – Personal Research Fellowship for Michaela Dewar from Alzheimer's Research UK - 'Remembering under conditions of reduced interference', 2007 – 2010

Project grants

  • £99,409 Wellcome Trust Seed Award in Science - 'When less is more - alleviating forgetting by reducing interference', PI: Michaela Dewar, collaborators: Thomas Wolbers, Michael Hasselmo, Iris Oren, 2017-2018.
  • £148,126 Alzheimer's Society Junior Fellowship to Michael Craig - Developing a novel test to detect and measure memory impairment and improvement in Alzheimer's disease', PI: Michael Craig, co-applicants: Michaela Dewar, Mario Parra, 2017-2020.
  • £2000 junior member small grant from Alzheimer's Research UK - 'Examining the suitability of immersive virtual reality as a potential tool for cognitive assessment and intervention in Alzheimer's disease - a pilot project', PI: Michael Craig, co-applicant: Michaela Dewar, 2016-2017.
  • £4500 small grant from Alzheimer's Research UK – 'Uncovering the neurocognitive basis of memory interference in aMCI - an interdisciplinary approach', PI: Michaela Dewar, co-applicant: Iris Oren, 2015-2016.
  • £5000 small grant from Alzheimer's Research UK – 'Linking the cellular pathophysiology and cognitive neuropsychology of memory interference in amnestic mild cognitive impairment, PI: Iris Oren, co-applicant: Michaela Dewar, 2014-2015.
  • £73,800 from the Alzheimer's Society - 'Improving memory in amnestic MCI and Alzheimer's Disease via minimal interference', Co-PIs: Michaela Dewar & Sergio Della Sala, 2011 – 2015.
  • £70,500 from Age UK - 'Improving memory in amnestic MCI and Alzheimer's Disease via minimal interference', Co-PIs: Michaela Dewar & Sergio Della Sala 2010 – 2014
  • £84,853 from Epilepsy Research UK - 'Accelerated long-term forgetting in epilepsy: The role of interference', PI: Chris Butler, co-applicants: Michaela Dewar, Adam Zeman and Sergio Della Sala, 2010 – 2014
  • £4,200 from Scottish Crucible and the Royal Society of Edinburgh - 'AT-ME': Adapting Technology to empower bystanders in Medical Emergencies', PI: Verena Rieser, co-applicants: Michaela Dewar, Alasdair Mort, and Alistair McGowan, 2013- 2014
  • £4000 Additional Support Fund from the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland, 2011, PI: Michaela Dewar
  • £4000 Additional Support Fund from the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland, 2010, PI: Michaela Dewar
  • £4000 Additional Support Fund from the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland, 2009, PI: Michaela Dewar

Dissemination grants

  • £1000 Alzheimer's Society (dissemination grant) – 'Establishing an interdisciplinary collaborative framework to investigate interference phenomena in Alzheimer's Disease', Co-PIs: Iris Oren & Michaela Dewar, 2014
  • £1000 Guarantors of Brain (support for short meetings and conferences) – 'Establishing an interdisciplinary collaborative framework to investigate interference phenomena in Alzheimer's Disease', co-PIs: Iris Oren & Michaela Dewar, 2014

Louise Bridges – 4th year project student
Hebe Dale – 4th year project student
Stephanie Hill – 4th year project student
Aemon Iqbal – 4th year project student
Christopher Knowles – 4th year project student

Steven Logue – 4th year project student
Renvi Malik - 4th year project student
Catriona Martin – 4th year project student
Scott McElhaney – 4th year project student

George Molnar – 4th year project student
Georgina Ottaway – 4th year project student
Lindsey Pollock – 4th year project student
Austin Ritchie – 4th year project student
Matthew Russel – 4th year project student
Nicola Sobieraj – 4th year project student