Current Projects

Rhythmic encoding and memory

Funded by a grant from the BIAL Foundation awarded to Dr Ward (PI) (2019-2021). In collaboration with Dr Alexander Jones and Dr Jon Silas (Jones & Silas Lab, Middlesex University), and Research Assistant Wayne Anderson.

We recently provided evidence (Jones & Ward, 2019) that presenting to-be-remembered items in a rhythmic manner during encoding leads to greater recognition and distinct neural markers in comparison items presented in an arrhythmic manner. This project seeks to understand the mechanisms underlying the beneficial effect of rhythmic presentation on memory encoding using behavioural and EEG measures.

Other projects associated with this line of research are being conducted by MSc by Research students Petter Moller (investigating interactions with aging), and Nikki Lloyd (investigating mechanisms).

EXPLICIT and implicit memory

The Science Museum Project: Explicit and implicit memory over the lifespan

Funded by the Experimental Psychology Society (EPS) Small Grants Scheme (2018), awarded to Dr Ward (PI). In collaboration with Dr Christopher Berry (University of Plymouth) and Prof David Shanks (UCL), with Research Assistant Enida Czsiser.

Explicit memory declines with age, but changes in implicit memory with age are debated. A recent review by Ward and Shanks (2018) culminated in several recommendations for methodological improvement in future studies, to allow greater transparency around age effects on implicit memory. This project put in place these recommendations during a residency at the Science Museum, London. Over 1000 participants aged 12-82 years completed the experiment designed to map changes in explicit and implicit memory over the lifespan, and uncover interactions with attention and depth-of-processing.

Other recent and ongoing projects on explicit and implicit memory

Effects of mood matching music on memory in aging

In collaboration with Dr Fabia Franco (Middlesex University), with former Research Assistants Alex Isac and Maria Donnelley. This study was based on the mood-matching paradigm developed by Franco et al., which demonstrates that a match between musical tempo and the mood of the listener can enhance cognitive function in adults and children, while a mismatch is detrimental. In an initial study we examined whether this effect extends to aging, where music therapy interventions are becoming more common. Our current PhD student Atiya Mouri is continuing this line of research, with the new inclusion of physiological measures. Visit the Music Cognition Communication Group for further details about this research.

Context reinstatement effects in aging

In collaboration with Prof Elizabeth Maylor (University of Warwick), Dr Marie Poirier (City University, London), and former Research Assistant Maggie Korko. This project investigates the effect of context reinstatement on item and associative memory in normal aging. In an initial study (Ward, Maylor, Poirier, Korko, & Ruud, 2016) we examined whether context reinstatement enhances item recognition in young and older adults despite an age difference in the ability to recognise item-context pairs, and the underlying mechanisms.